The UFC and Sky Sports today announced a new deal which will see The Ultimate Fighter 12 airing on the UK’s biggest subscription sports network. The show had previously been airing on digital channel Five USA.
The show will now be broadcast on Sky Sports 2 from Tuesday, 21st September.
Announcing the deal, Sky Sports’ Managing Director Barney Francis said: “We’re delighted to renew our association with the Ultimate Fighting Championship as we were the first UK broadcaster to feature the UFC back in 2002.
“The Ultimate Fighter series offers a unique taster of a sport that has experienced a phenomenal rise in popularity in recent years and we’re sure it’ll prove popular with our viewers.”
UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta added: “We’re very excited to announce Sky Sports as the new home of ‘the Ultimate Fighter’ in the UK and Ireland. This season is going to be fascinating, with two of the biggest names in the UFC – St-Pierre and Koscheck – competing against each other as coaches.
“The Ultimate Fighter series combines the best aspects of reality TV and sport, and will give Sky Sports viewers a great insight into why the UFC’s brand of mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world.”
Speaking to The Telegraph after the news broke, the UFC’s UK president Marshall Zelaznik went into further detail on the benefits of the new deal.
“Putting The Ultimate Fighter on Sky will create a halo effect of mainstream awareness. We are probably three or four years behind the US. We are trying to get it exposed to a new sports fan. We know we already have a solid fan base, but being on the Sky platform means an even bigger market to showcase the sport to mainstream sports fans.”
As well as airing TUF Sky will also now have a dedicated page on their website covering the show.