ESPN is officially all-in on UFC, with The Walt Disney Company announcing that it had picked up all US rights to the MMA promotion in a multi-year agreement that makes ESPN-branded media platforms the exclusive digital and television home of the UFC in the United States, further expanding streaming rights to UFC on ESPN+ and building upon the agreement revealed earlier this month. In a move from FOX and starting in January 2019, ESPN+ and ESPN will become the exclusive digital and linear distributors in the United States for UFC, showcasing 42 live events. ESPN linear networks will broadcast 10 exclusive events as well as all UFC pay-per-view preliminary fights, while ESPN+ will offer 20 exclusive events and all preliminary fights for “UFC on ESPN Fight Night” programs. Events broadcast on ESPN will be branded “UFC on ESPN Fight Night,” while events streamed live on ESPN+ will carry the “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” moniker.
“Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars,” said Dana White, President, UFC. “Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.”