Earlier today. (Weds., May 23, 2018), it was announced that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had inked a massive 5-year television deal with ESPN worth $1.5 billion which will begin in 2019 and mark the end of the promotion’s relationship with FOX.
UFC president Dana White is obviously grinning from ear-to-ear on the heels of the company’s latest achievement, calling it perhaps the best day of his career in the combat business.
I spoke briefly with Dana White. He's celebrating the announcement of the UFC/ESPN deal in Maine with friends and family. Said this is "one of, if not the best days of my career."— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 23, 2018
While details are still trickling in as to how all the content will be distributed under the new partnership, White assured fight fans that the production value will remain intact and be spearheaded by UFC, not ESPN.
Per Dana White, UFC will maintain control of its production of live events on ESPN. "The fans are happy with the way our show is presented, and the networks are too, which is why we get these deals done. Our production is incredible, we do an amazing job and we'll continue to."— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 23, 2018
If ain’t broke...
Love him or hate him, White -- along with the Fertitta’s deep pockets -- has been instrumental helping bring the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) to where it is today. When Endeavor -- formerly WME-IMG — bout the company a few years ago for a whopping $4 billion, Dana inked a deal to stay on as president for a few more years, which came with a nice payday, too.
How much the outspoken president banks of this latest deal, is unknown.
Furthermore, I’m sure White is thrilled he’ll be seeing a very familiar face on the ESPN lot from time to time, as well.