The UFC is set to announce a deal with ESPN, which would televise UFC events in the U.K. SunSport is reporting that the partnership will start with UFC 101 on August 8th.
“We’re on the brink of having lots to share,” an ESPN source told SunSport. “[We’re] just waiting for the ink to dry on a couple of things.”
The UFC had been broadcast on the now-defunct Setanta Sports, which had been broadcasting live UFC events and programming in the U.K. since January of 2008. During their time together, Sentana reportedly lost millions of dollars while brushing off talks that they were on the cusp of going belly-up. In June, the company ceased its U.K. operations and laid off roughly 200 employees.
The deal is expected to be announced during Dana White’s press conference on Friday, which had been rumored to announce the signing of Fedor Emelianenko. White had said that the press conference will “break all the latest news and developments in UFC”. It is expected that in addition to the U.K. deal, a network TV deal in the United States may be announced.
White may also announce the signing of some Affliction fighters to the organization, as Ben Rothwell vs. Chase Gormley which was to take place at the canceled Affliction: Trilogy event this Saturday will now take place at UFC 104.
A rumored return of Tito Ortiz to the organization may also be announced this Friday. Rumors have been circulating that Ortiz may replace Dan Henderson to face Rich Franklin at UFC 103 in September. The Franklin – Henderson bout was publicly announced by the UFC, however was pulled from their website earlier this week.