U.K. fans won't be left out on UFC's network debut on FOX, Dana White said today.
Despite the fact that the promotion's British TV partner, ESPN UK, is under a different corporate roof than that of FOX's U.K. counterpart, Sky, the event won't go dark, the UFC president promised today during an announcement of the Nov. 12 card's main event.
"We'll make this fight available," White said. "We'll figure this thing out."
UFC on FOX takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and features a heavyweight title fight between champ Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos, which serves as the sole bout on a one-hour FOX broadcast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
How White plans to make the event available is the question of the day, and he declined to go into details about negotiations. But there's evidence that a move to FOX's U.K. counterpart could be in the UFC's best long-term interest. Both channels are not part of basic cable, and ESPN UK, which is owned by The Walt Disney Corporation, is an add-on to Sky, of which FOX parent company NewsCorp owns a controlling interest.
The UFC's reach would likely be far greater on Sky, however. Sporting events broadcast on the network routinely outdraw those on ESPN UK, as the channel broadcasts more soccer events in addition to the NFL. (For its part, ESPN UK has baseball, basketball, and college sports.)
With the ESPN deal reportedly set to expire in August 2012, White hopes the UFC's seven-year deal with FOX will open the door to a partnership with Sky.
"One of the many things that I'm excited about (in) being with FOX is once all these deals end up at the end of their term, we would love to be with FOX over the U.K.," he said. "We're trying to figure all this stuff out, and I think that once our deals expire, we will figure it out, and we'll get that whole U.K./Ireland piece of this thing fixed.
"So hang in there, we're working on it, we'll get this fight up somewhere so the fans can see it, and rest assured that our relationship with FOX is seven years and we're going to figure out that piece of this puzzle."
I'm not quite sure how or why this effects the British audience? Can someone maybe explain the deal between UFC and Fox, and why it has a potential impact on UK viewers when its ESPN who have the rights here?
Will there be confusion over further Fox events being shown in the UK also?
The last time the UFC was in this predicament, and Dana White said "we'll sort it, dont worry", alot of the British fans got royally screwed over.