UFC lands 'significant' free television deal on UK's Channel 5 ahead of 'Gustafsson vs Manuwa' in London

Mark Nolan

Good news for you folks across the pond.

While a good portion of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fan base will have to sign up for "Fight Pass" to watch this weekend's UFC Fight Night 37 event, which takes place on Sat., March 8, 2014 inside the O2 Arena in London, England, fight fans in the United Kingdom (UK) can watch it for free on Channel 5.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made the announcement last week (read it here), noting that Channel 5 will broadcast the "Gustafsson vs. Manuwa" main card at 9 p.m., with "highlights" of the rest of the card through 11 p.m. local time.

MMA Fighting adds some context to the "significant" partnership.

Besides airing on BT Sport, the home of all UFC live events, Saturday's show will air from 9-11 p.m. on Ch. 5, one of the five major free-to-air stations in the country. It would be equivalent in some ways to the FOX deal in the U.S. Ch. 5 is the equivalent of a network station in the U.S., although it is No. 5 in the marketplace.

According to David Allen of the UFC, BT Sport, as part of its contract, will air the entire event live. Both channels will have the same fight feed, but each channel have their own separate in-studio coverage. The show will also be available live on Fight Pass, just as it is available in the U.S.

Not a bad deal, all things considered.

The timing couldn't be better, as UFC is planning to host a minimum of six "Fight Night" events overseas for its 2014 fight campaign, and recently re-upped its deal with BT Sport. In addition, it added local talent to the broadcast booth, including the aforementioned "Outlaw."

UK fight fans are getting plenty of free access to the upcoming UFC events ... but are you happy with the quality of the fights being delivered?

See the entire UFC Fight Night 37 fight card and line up here.

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