BBC Three and the UFC have today announced that they have formed an 'editorial and promotional partnership' to bring mixed martial arts to a mass audience.
The new deal sits outside of the current UK broadcast relationship with BT Sport and will include them offering preview and behind-the-scenes content via their recently-launched online digital platform.
The partnership will commence this week, building up to this Saturday's UFC London card headlined by Michael Bisping's bout with Anderson Silva at the O2 Arena. It has been confirmed that the deal is to include coverage of all the European, Middle East and Asian shows with the option of also covering international shows should they desire.
Speaking to The Sun, the UFC's EMEA chief James Elliot said: “We are thrilled to be recognised as a valuable asset for BBC Three and the wider BBC Sport team.
“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.”
Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three, said: “BBC Three has a history of covering emerging sports that appeal to young audiences in new ways, and our coverage of UFC will be no different."
"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, in a BBC Three way."
"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."
In addition to the coverage specified above, it is also understood that the BBC will produce short films focusing on the wider mixed martial arts sport and also some of the UFC's biggest stars including the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey.
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