Report: ESPN Nabs Exclusive UFC TV Rights For 2019

It appears ESPN is in full tilt with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As it is, fight fans were surprised to hear the announcement that a deal was reached to have 15 UFC events take place on ESPN+, which is a digital platform. The deal was sai…

It appears ESPN is in full tilt with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As it is, fight fans were surprised to hear the announcement that a deal was reached to have 15 UFC events take place on ESPN+, which is a digital platform. The deal was said to be worth $750 million over five years. […]

The post Report: ESPN Nabs Exclusive UFC TV Rights For 2019 appeared first on MMA News.

Report: ESPN lands UFC television rights deal

In a stunning move, ESPN will reportedly get both the UFC’s streamed and televised cards starting in 2019. The UFC on Fox Sports era is coming to an end.
Variety reported on Tuesday night that ESPN, which already snagged rights to up to 15…

In a stunning move, ESPN will reportedly get both the UFC’s streamed and televised cards starting in 2019.

The UFC on Fox Sports era is coming to an end.

Variety reported on Tuesday night that ESPN, which already snagged rights to up to 15 live UFC events per year on its new streaming service ESPN+, has also won the television rights package, which will bring an additional 15 fight cards to the network, making for 30 per year starting in 2019.

Sources familiar with negotiations say ESPN has struck a deal for a second portion to the package currently held by Fox Sports that will bring the total cost in the neighborhood of $300 million per year for five years, totaling $1.5 billion. The new deals, which cover a total of 30 fights, kick in early 2019.

Reps from ESPN, UFC and Fox Sports could not be reached for comment.

As with their other pact, the events covered under this deal will be split between ESPN’s linear channels and ESPN+, the new streaming service launched last month.

The article also noted that the UFC will still have pay-per-view events, as well as the UFC Fight Pass streaming service, even though live fight cards will be shown on ESPN+. It is not known at this point how many PPVs the UFC will run moving forward under the new deal, but if there’s no reduction then you’re still looking at more than 40+ fight cards per year.

This comes on the heels of news that Fox will broadcast WWE’s SmackDown on a 5-year, $1 billion contract. Interestingly enough, The Hollywood Reporter noted at the time that “Fox is willing to pay about $175 million annually for the MMA promotion.” Perhaps that was a sign that Fox was ready to move on from the UFC.

It had been reported last year that Endeavor was looking for rights fees in the neighborhood of $450 million, then a Variety article from April said that they wanted somewhere in the $300-$400 million range. This puts them at the absolute lowest end of that total, but it’s still more than double what FOX is paying them right now, and it’s a landmark moment for the UFC to be with the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” and it opens the door for more mainstream coverage and more attention to the product than what they had with Fox Sports.

Midnight Mania! Al Iaquinta Eyeing Late Summer Tango With Justin Gaethje

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight Welcome to Midnight Mania!
It’s hard to make a bad fight at lightweight. The UFC’s deepest division is brimming with scintillating talent- even the guys coming …

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

It’s hard to make a bad fight at lightweight. The UFC’s deepest division is brimming with scintillating talent- even the guys coming off losses are easy to get excited about. No two fighters represent that more than Justin Gaethje and ‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta. On his podcast, Iaquinta hinted that he might be in talks with the UFC to face Gaethje this summer. He was asked about a possible matchup with Gaethje, and his response indicated that the idea was not new to him. Transcript via MMAJunkie.com:

“We’re hoping for sometime in August,” Iaquinta said. “August, September. I think (the UFC) wanted it to be sooner, but that guy needs a rest. I was looking out for his health with that one. He needs a break for a minute. If it goes down the way it’s supposed to, it’ll be a good fight, a tough fight.”

It’s peak Al to say that he’s looking out for Gaethje’s health by pushing a potential matchup back to late summer. But is the fight actually being discussed? “Little bit”, was all Al would say.

It would be a near-perfect matchup for Gaethje, and one fans would have an easy time getting behind. Iaquinta had won five straight before his high-profile decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov; Gaethje is on the most exciting two-fight skid in UFC history, coming agonizingly close to beating Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez before going out on his shield in both fights. He needs a step back, but not too far back; someone that keeps him relevant with a win, and doesn’t consign him to the dust-bin with a loss. Iaquinta is in a similar space; his short-notice loss to Nurmagomedov may have dampened any title hopes, but he hung tough with the Russian for all five rounds. Both men are known for wanting to throw hands in the pocket in a fan-friendly manner; neither are known for meticulous risk avoidance.

Of course, it’s hard to make a bad fight at lightweight; Edson Barboza’s manager has also thrown his hat in the ring for a fight with Gaethje.


Insomnia

Tony Ferguson is back in training

The guy on the left is your hopes, dreams and ambitions. On the right is you.

Muhammad Ali was an inspiration to so many

Joe Rogan loves highlighting very ineffective traditional martial arts techniques.

Jose Aldo has really been working his wrestling lately ahead of his summer fight with Jeremy Stephens


Slips, Rips, KO Clips

Some Muay Thai action

This guy looks like a solid addition to the UFC roster. Look at that combination. By God.


Quick Hits and Good Reads

  • Yair Rodriguez explains his side of the story– probably a lot closer to what really went on in negotiations- and from what he said, it’s either a bad call by the UFC or a worrying signal to the rest of the roster that fighters attempting to negotiate what is best for their careers won’t be tolerated.

Podcasts and Video

Follow MMA Mania on Youtube


Random Land

So close

Say what you will about Trump, he’s the funniest president we have ever had and likely will ever have.

Look at this crazy volcano footage from Hawaii

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

UFC Chile Pulls in Average of 870,000 Viewers

Viewership numbers for the main card of UFC Chile have been released and they aren’t half bad. The FOX Sports 1 main card broadcast drew an average of 870,000 viewers (via MMAFighting.com). The event peaked at 1,143,000 viewers for the opening ma…

Viewership numbers for the main card of UFC Chile have been released and they aren’t half bad. The FOX Sports 1 main card broadcast drew an average of 870,000 viewers (via MMAFighting.com). The event peaked at 1,143,000 viewers for the opening main card bout between Vicente Luque and Chad Laprise. It also took in 9,473 […]

The post UFC Chile Pulls in Average of 870,000 Viewers appeared first on MMA News.

If I Did It: Will WWE’s big Fox deal leave UFC out in the cold?

Welcome to If I Did It, the show where we grapple with PR problems from the world of MMA. This week the MMA Puncholes discuss the implications of FOX TV’s big money deal for WWE Smackdown. Join Kid Nate of Bloody Elbow and the Let It Roll …

Welcome to If I Did It, the show where we grapple with PR problems from the world of MMA. This week the MMA Puncholes discuss the implications of FOX TV’s big money deal for WWE Smackdown.

Join Kid Nate of Bloody Elbow and the Let It Roll podcast and Eugene S Robinson, from ozy.com and author of “Fight: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ass-Kicking but Were Afraid You’d Get Your Ass Kicked for Asking” with your host, Alexei Auld, author of “7 Secret Sources of Inspiration: A Snappy Guide for Creative Procrastinators”. Collectively, the MMA Puncholes.

You’re the UFC. How does the WWE’s billion dollar Smackdown deal, live and in public, if you will, impact yours? – 0:46

You’re Bellator. Should you be in the Chuck Liddell business, and if so, how do you maximize it? – 11:01

You’re the UFC. Should Mackenzie Dern be ranked in a weight class she couldn’t make? – 16:34

REGULAR FEATURE: KID NATE’S HEEL TURN – 20:52

REGULAR FEATURE: EUGENE’S LOST BATTALION – 23:09

THANKS FOR JOINING US. FOLLOW US on Twitter @kidnate, @alexeiauld, @eugeneSrobinson. At Facebook @MMAPuncholes. PLEASE GIVE THIS A THUMBS UP and leave comments on YouTube, subscribe to MMANationdotcom on YouTube, and MMANation on iTunes and SoundCloud. Buy 7 Secret Sources of Inspiration, buy OXBOW’S THIN BLACK DUKE wherever fine music is sold, listen to Kid Nate’s LET IT ROLL PODCAST; and immediately following this show, be sure to check out our new non-MMA show IF THE SHOES FIT on YouTube.

”We’ll be back next week with another installment of If I Did It and we don’t know what we’ll be talking about yet because the PR mistakes have yet to be made.”