The UFC have today announced that UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson Vs Manuwa will air live on Channel 5 from London in the UK on March 8th.
This is a cause for celebration if you’re a UK fight fan as it’s the first time ever that a UFC event will air on a terrestrial television, and better yet, because it’s a UK event, that means it’ll be on at a reasonable hour too – 9pm local time to be precise.
“This gives the entire British public the opportunity to watch UFC programming live on free to air TV and we are very excited to be working with Channel 5 to provide this experience,” the UFC’s head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) Garry Cooke stated in a press release. “The UFC are incredibly proud of the EMEA FIGHT NIGHTS that will we will be hosting throughout 2014, showcasing some of our incredible talent at Saturday primetime, across the regions to millions of existing and new fans.”
Channel 5, who have aired UFC highlight shows late at night in the past, appear equally pleased to have secured this landmark deal.
“UFC is the best of mixed martial arts, ideal to complement our existing fighting stable. We’re genuinely excited to welcome such a riveting sport to Channel 5,” their commissioning editor Simon Raikes stated.
It should be stressed that as things stand the UFC’s main television partner in the UK remains BT Sport and therefore there’s no indication at this stage that this is anything other than a one-off deal.
UFC Fight Night 37 will be headlined by a major light-heavyweight battle that will see Alexander Gustafsson attempt to secure a second shot at the 205lb title by defeating rising UK star Jimi Manuwa.
Also on the bill is a lightweight co-main event featuring Melvin Guillard Vs Michael Johnson, while Brad Pickett’s flyweight debut versus newcomer Neil Seery and Gunnar Nelson Vs Omari Akhmedov completes the line-up.
The UFC will also field a new commentary team for the event, with Dan Hardy taking on color commentator duties alongside John Gooden, while Andy Friedlander will step into Bruce Buffer’s shoes as the Octagon announcer.