MMA has finally been recognised by the UK’s biggest broadcaster with BBC Three set to cover this coming saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 84: Silva Vs Bisping event.
It should be noted that this deal is seperate to the UFC’s current UK TV deal with BT Sport which ends in July and does not involve live broadcasting of the fights.
Instead, the BBC Three deal will focus on providing editorial content for the UFC’s ‘EMEA’ (Europe, The Middle East and Africa) events, though there is also an option for covering international events too.
To kick off the deal, BBC Three will feature live blogging for Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 84 event along with clips of the night’s action.
Landing a deal with the BBC is a landmark moment for the UFC in the UK, though it should be noted that that the youth focused BBC Three channel only just switched to being onine-only this month via the BBC IPlayer service, reasoning that more young people’s viewing habits are switching to online.
Nonethless, any association with the world famous broadcaster is good news for the UFC and helps legitimize the sport in the mainstream there.
“We already offer sport on The Daily Drop and it’s right we cover one of the fastest growing, and most talked-about sports in the world, which has millions of fans in the UK, all in a BBC Three way,” said Damian Kavanagh, BBC Three Controller. “The deal is mutually beneficial and demonstrates how BBC Three can experiment with new types of content, from new partners, in new ways.
“Last year we made a documentary featuring MMA and offered live coverage of League of Legends from Wembley with both well received by younger audiences, so in the spirit of innovation, we welcomed the chance to work with the UFC.”
UFC EMEA general manager James Elliott was equally pleased with the deal.
“We are thrilled to be recognised as a valuable asset for BBC Three.
“Audiences across the UK & Ireland are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the skill, athleticism and ethics of MMA fighters and the great events and content produced by the UFC, which is driving fans to seek content from media outlets.
“BBC Three is a perfect fit for UFC and we look forward to an exciting year working together to bring great content to their audiences.”