Only days away from UFC 201, the last event to take place within the time frame specified in their previous deal with the promotion, BT Sport have announced that they will retain the exclusive rights to broadcast UFC events in the UK and Ireland.
— BT Sport UFC (@btsportufc) July 27, 2016
The relationship between the two parties, which goes back to 2013, will be extended until the end of 2018 thanks to the new deal, with the broadcaster set to air over 150 hours of live action from the world’s premier MMA league a year.
Speaking to SunSport, the UFC’s vice president and general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa James Elliot indicated that BT’s commitment to and familiarity with the sport had played a role in his organisation’s decision to continue this fruitful partnership despite interest from a number of other parties.
“They understand the product now,” said Elliot. “It takes time for broadcasters to get up to speed with us. But they’re now up to speed. They understand the power of it from a digital perspective. They’ve done a fabulous job for us in terms of promoting the sport”.
“They’ve committed to it – you can see that with the other commitments they’ve made to MMA in the market(BT are also the home of UK promotion Cage Warriors) – and I think we’re only going to go from strength to strength.”
The first event to be shown as part of the new deal will be UFC Fight Night 92 from the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on August 6th. That show is headlined by a featherweight bout between Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres.