ESPN have done a good job recently of embracing the sport of mixed martial arts, and they’ve devoted a considerable amount of air-time to tonight’s UFC 116 event throughout the week.

Along with the MMA Live show which now airs weekly on ESPN 2, Dana White has appeared several times on different shows, while headliners Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, plus the light-heavyweight divisions No.1 contender Rashad Evans have all been on ESPN Sportscenter to talk about the fights.

Lesnar was also profiled for the E:60 show, while on the other side of the pond ESPN UK have devoted an entire weekend to MMA in the lead-up to UFC 116.

All of this is very encouraging for the UFC, and the sport in general, and it will be interesting to see if ESPN will be willing to go one step further with their coverage in the future.

Earlier this week on MMA Nation, Dana White was asked whether he thought ESPN would air a live MMA event before 2012. He simply replied, “that would be awesome.”

Watch the latest interviews with Dana White on ‘Sports Nation’ and Rashad Evans on ‘Sportscenter’ below.

Dana White:

Rashad Evans:

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.