Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, is expected to drive up its asking price for broadcasting rights when its current television deal expires in 2018.
That puts the FOX network in a bit of a pickle, having secured a seven-year contract back in 2011, mere peanuts when you consider the combat sports entity recently sold to WME | IMG for roughly $4 billion.
But if and when UFC does set sail for greener pastures — or stay put on FOX — its live programming may undergo a facelift. That’s according to industry insider and television ratings guru Dave Meltzer.
Note from Meltzer regarding TV negotiations. Networks want to remove “hype master” Rogan/Goldberg style of announcing, UFC willing to change— Fight_Ghost (@Fight_Ghost) November 29, 2016
IT IS ALL OVER!
Or is it? Longtime color commentator Joe Rogan already reduced his live schedule for 2017 and may not return to the announce table in 2018 (more on that here). In addition, UFC has several commentators on FOX, like Kenny Florian and a very willing Brian Stann, qualified to fill those shoes.
Nothing is official at this time and the MMA community still has a solid year or so before any changes are inked. But that shouldn’t stop us from speculating on what the future of UFC will (or won’t) look like when the dust settles and the smoke clears.