UFC, ESPN Plus announce streaming deal beginning in 2019

Updated May 8, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Live UFC fights are coming to ESPN Plus in January.

The Las Vegas-based MMA organization announced a multiyear media rights deal with the new subscription service on Tuesday that includes a catalog of UFC content.

Financial details were not available for a deal that calls for 15 live UFC events — with 12 fights on each card — on the platform to be branded as “UFC on ESPN Plus Fight Night.”

“UFC is a premier global sports property with legions of incredibly avid fans,” ESPN president and co-chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a news release. “We are excited to be able to bring their world-class events and content to ESPN+ and the ESPN networks. This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform.”

Content will be available in English and Spanish.

ESPN Plus, which costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, also will contain new episodes of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” beginning in June 2019. The deal also calls for a new all-access series, prefight and postfight shows as well as UFC-branded content such as “Countdown” and event weigh-ins.

It’s much of the same content that currently is available to subscribers of UFC Fight Pass.

White, the UFC’s president, said he thinks it’s time to work with ESPN, which also will air content on its TV networks, including a 30-minute show highlighting upcoming fights.

“I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport,” White said. “UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time, and this one is no exception. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. This deal is a home run for ESPN and UFC.”

Subscribers also will be able to purchase pay-per-view events through the service.

The UFC’s TV deal with Fox, which was signed in 2011, expires at the end of 2018. Negotiations are ongoing for a new TV home for UFC events.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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