It’s official: UFC is moving to Fox and FX, with Spike TV canceling its long-running reality hit The Ultimate Fighter.
As part of a multi-year deal, Fox will air four live UFC fights per year. Ultimate Fighter will now air on FX. Instead of taping Fighter months in advance like on Spike, each Fighter episode will be shot the same week as when the episode airs and will followed by a live fight. FX will carry six regular fights per year in addition to 24 Ultimate Fighter
“This is the pinnacle,” says UFC president Dana White on a conference call with reporters, talking about landing on Fox. “This is what I always wanted. I couldn’t be more proud. All those people who thought i was a lunatic 10 years ago when I said this was going to be the biggest sport.”
White assured that the broadcast fights will be significant match-ups, rather than saving all of the important bouts for Pay Per View. “We want to pull ratings, we want to pull the big numbers,” White said.
Here’s a statement by Spike TV:
“The Ultimate Fighter season 14 in September will be our last. We are increasing our commitment to distinctive, original series that we own such as Auction Hunters and Bar Rescue which are delivering on our goal to reach a broader audience. Our 6-year partnership with the UFC has been incredibly beneficial in building both our brands, and we wish them all the best in the future.”
The last season of Ultimate Fighter was the lowest-rated yet, averaging 1.6 million viewers.
This isn’t the first time MMA fights have aired on broadcast, CBS experimented with the format a few years back. The first Fox fight will air on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET.