In perhaps the most exciting turn of events in Mixed Martial Arts history, the UFC recently announced a seven-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports Media Group. The UFC previously contracted out its broadcast rights to Spike TV with the majority of its fights available only on pay-per-view. This monumental announcement means that, for the first time, the UFC (MMA's preeminent organization) will be providing regular programming outside the parameters of basic cable and PPV and, instead, broadcasting on network TV. Fox will be hosting both live events and transitioning The Ultimate Fighter franchise to FX.
So the question remains, what does this mean to the sport of MMA? What is means is the continuing development of MMA as a mainstream sport. With increased visibility and accessibility, the UFC has moved one giant step towards joining the three-letter acronym pantheon with the likes of MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA. No longer will UFC events be accessible solely to those willing to fork out $59.95. Instead, the masses will now have access to the sport like never before. With increased visibility, the UFC can continue to whittle away at the misnomer that MMA is merely human cockfighting. Instead, a new platform exists to show the perseverance and skill of these elite athletes.
Sometimes when Dana White talks, his rhetoric is described as nothing more than boisterous hyperbole meant to bolster interest in the sport through controversy. But for many years, Dana has claimed that, someday, the UFC would be hosting the biggest sport in the world. By partnering with Fox, Dana White's once fanciful aspirations suddenly do not seem so far fetched. Everyone tune in. The UFC's evolution is now only a channel click away.
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