Spike TV Taps Out, UFC Signs Multi-Year Deal With FOX

With the departure of Spike TV as the network of record for all UFC prgramming, the mixed martial arts organization obviously wasn’t going to sit idly by while their competition snaps up network deals of their own.

As is with all things UFC, when they do something, they usually do it big. And their most recent transaction certainly qualifies as a really big deal.

Earlier on Thursday, the UFC announced that they signed a multi-year, multi-media rights agreement with FOX Sports Media Group.

This transaction between the two behemoths of their industries can easily be translated into a big deal, in terms of mixed martial arts coverage on a cable network.

This agreement allows for four live events in either primetime or late night each year on FOX.

The first UFC broadcast will start on November 12 at 9:00 PM Eastern.

Additional programming on multiple FOX outlets (including FX and others) will launch on or around January of 2012 and will include live fight events, pre and post shows, the Countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, weighin specials and presumably a boatload of original content from the UFC archives.

The agreement between UFC anf FOX will also allow for developing robust mobile and authenitcated online offerings in order to exploit a variety of digital platforms.

As a result of the deal, The Ultimate Fighter will move from Spike TV to FX, with FX to also air another four-to-six UFC live events annually, with an additional amount of events and programs to be farmed out to other FOX media properties, including FUEL TV and others.

With this megadeal all but official, what does this mean for everyone else in the cablesphere?

Spike, without the UFC in the daily lineup, will have to scramble to find a replcement MMA organization to fill up that time that the UFC once occupied.

With the numerous MMA organizations out there clamoring for a television deal, therer shouldn’t be a shortage of suitors.

There’s Bellator – probably the largest MMA organization without a major TV deal – for starters and some much smaller organizations available. Whether they can afford to hook up with a cable network is speculation at this point.

But one thing is for certain: What is currently Spike TV ‘s loss is certainly FOX’s gain. And the big fish in the MMA pond (UFC) just gained some additional weight.

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