BT Sport has confirmed a three-year deal to broadcast the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the UK from August, adding to its armoury of sports rights.
The deal includes live coverage of all UFC events plus, in a first for British television, original programming focused around the burgeoning UK UFC activities.
Garry Cook, the executive vice president and managing director of UFC EMEA, said: “UFC athletes are the most committed and dedicated in the world of sport and this new relationship will help people gain a more in depth understanding of the sport and our brand.
“This agreement is a landmark step in UFC’s development in the UK as it will increase our exposure to a much wider and more mainstream sporting audience. It means that the UK joins USA, Canada, Australia and Brazil as one of our largest TV broadcast markets."
Cook added: “BT Sport certainly shares our vision for the premium quality broadcast of elite performance sport for our UK audience and we’re very excited about the strategic partnership we’ve entered into. We look forward to working alongside them and showing a wider fan base how exciting and engaging the UFC is.”
BT Sport chief Simon Green said: "We’ve said BT Sport will offer a wide range of sports that appeal to different audiences and we know that UFC has a huge, committed fanbase in the UK and Ireland and we hope they will be excited about our plans to develop the coverage of the sport.”
BT Sport is also poised to confirm a multi-year deal to broadcast the MotoGP world championship from 2014 onwards, taking the rights from the BBC.
Ahead of its launch this summer, BT Sport has already assembled a rights portfolio which includes live Premier League soccer, exclusive rights to top-flight English rugby and a significant bundle of WTA tournaments. It has also inherited a selection of rights currently held by ESPN UK as part of its acquisition of the channel in February.