Last week we brought you news that the UFC had struck a deal with UK terrestrial TV station ‘Channel 5’ to broadcast this weekend’s ‘UFC Fight Night 37’ and the good news is that this is set to be the first of many.
According to MMAfighting.com’s Dave Meltzer, the UFC’s deal with Channel 5 will see them air six live events on the network in 2014.
The events targeted for the broadcasts will be what the UFC are titling the ‘EMEA’ series, which encompasses events in Europe, the Middle East and Asia that will be airing on the ‘Fight Pass’ subscription service for the rest of the world over the course of the year.
While nothing’s been confirmed yet that would suggest that in addition to this weekend’s show in London, England, Channel 5 may be intending to air the UFC’s forthcoming trip to Abu Dhabi in April headlined by Big Nog Vs Roy Nelson.
Other possibilities include the two new Asian ‘Fight Night’ events in Macau and Japan which were announced at the weekend for August and September, and European trips to the likes of Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Germany and Sweden which have been hinted at, but not yet confirmed by UFC execs.
Landing on Channel 5 is a big deal for the UFC, easily their most high profile TV move in the UK to date. Up until this point the sport has had to live with dwelling on less watched channels, often airing live in the wee hours of the morning which has lead to only tens of thousands of viewers at times, meaning that the UFC hasn’t exploded in the region in the same was as it has in other key overseas markets like Brazil.
However, with the majority, if not all, of the events scheduled to air during primetime hours on a channel that generally does around a million viewers in that timeslot, this has the potential to be a game-changer for MMA in the UK.