The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has locked in a massive television deal with ESPN. The world’s most famous mixed martial arts promotion has sold its television broadcast rights to the media giant. The UFC is now tasked with providing 30 Fight Night events per year and preliminary card broadcasts for 12 UFC Pay-Per-Views each year.
The five-year-deal was locked down for a massive total of $1.5 billion. Speaking on her radio show MMA Tonight, on SiriusXM Rush, former UFC women’s bantamweight Miesha Tate offered her thoughts on the matter.
“It’s incredible. It’s a big jump up. Just when you think the promotion has hit the ceiling so to speak, it’s just a glass one that they appear to break through and go on to new levels. This is massive. This is a huge transition for the company and I think everyone is pretty excited about it.
“The fact that it’s a five-year deal and there’s just so much that ESPN has to offer. This isn’t just a one road venture, there are multiple avenues. This is a tree of ventures with ESPN and lots of opportunities for the UFC to branch out in different shapes and forms and really grow the platform. We’re putting MMA on the map in new places and growing the sport, which is awesome to see.”
“You can say what you want and think what you want but the reality is the UFC is doing fine and the UFC is going to continue to grow. Sure, has the UFC maybe had a little bit more of a rough go this past year? I could agree with that. There’s been a huge transition with WME purchasing the UFC and it’s a process. There’s been a lot of stuff going on in the UFC but just because you’re slowing down for a little bit doesn’t mean you’re not setting up the groundwork to build something amazing, and I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing here after a little bit of a rough year. We’re seeing the work and the time and the effort that the UFC is putting in with the major companies to elevate the sport to the next level and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”
“There’s definitely gonna be a lot more money flowing through the UFC with this deal and it has to trickle down to the fighters, right? This is public knowledge. I know in the past the UFC has been somewhat secretive about exactly what the make and there’s speculation on what percentage actually goes to the fighters and how much it costs to run the business and all these things, but this is completely transparent. We know exactly what the UFC is making, we know exactly what this deal offers, and that’s not everything either. That’s just what they’re doing with ESPN. So I think it’s probably got to motivate some of these fighters to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, these numbers don’t quite add up.’ So there probably will be some tougher negotiations and all that.
“I can only imagine that it’s going to lead to fighters wanting more money, deserving more money. Without the fighters, the UFC doesn’t make these kinds of deals. The fighters are the laborers. The fighters are the ones making this happen, they’re the entertainers, they are what makes the UFC go around and they absolutely deserve to be compensated. It’s a short career and it’s certainly hard on your body – probably takes years off of our lives – so I think it’s reasonable to ask for fair compensation.”