U.S Mixed Martial Arts fans will be in good spirits today after hearing the news that Versus have finally signed a new multi-year deal with the WEC, which will see them air seven events in 2010. The new deal also allows Versus to air one additional prelim from each card via their website.
A surprise addition to the deal is that Versus will also be airing two live events from the UFC as well. This appears to be in addition to the events the UFC already broadcasts on Spike TV.
Read the full press release from Versus below:
Get ready for a whole lot more mixed martial arts action on VERSUS come 2010.
The network recently signed a multi-year extension with Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting.
As part of VERSUS’ renewal deal, the network will air seven live WEC fights and two live UFC events in 2010, marking the first time that live UFC events will air on a national sports cable network. Also included in the renewal deal are digital media rights, giving VERSUS.com the ability to air one non-televised fight and behind-the-scenes footage from each live WEC Event.
Details regarding when the first live UFC event will air on the network will be announced in the near future.
“We recognize that mixed martial arts is one of the fastest-growing sports genres,” said Versus President Jamie Davis.
Davis also mentioned that while the average VERSUS viewer is 45 years old, MMA events televised on the network draw an average viewer of 36.
“It’s bringing in a new audience that hasn’t watched us before,” Davis said.
The network’s first scheduled event of 2010 will air on Sunday, January 10, and will feature a WEC lightweight title unification match between interim champion Benson Henderson and champion Jamie Varner. Henderson defeated top contender Donald Cerrone in October to capture the interim belt in what many believe was one of the top fights of 2009. Urijah Faber will also make his much anticipated return to the WEC cage against Raphael Assuncao. The event will air live on VERSUS from the Arco Arena in Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, Calif.
In addition to the live WEC and UFC fights, VERSUS will also continue to produce and air new episodes of WEC WrekCAGE, a series featuring highlights from top WEC matches never before seen on television, as well as additional WEC programming such as a “Best-of-Year” highlights show and “Greatest Knockouts” specials.