In a milestone deal which brings the world's most exciting sport to British terrestrial television audiences for the very first time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has announced highlights of the best UFC action will be screened on the FIVE network on a delayed basis.
In the coming months, a regular and newly created program -- UFC: Main Event - will showcase the featured attraction bouts of some the UFC's biggest upcoming cards, plus the most exciting undercard fights. To kick off the series, FIVE will air UFC 102: Main Event featuring the instant classic between Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on Monday September 14, 2009 at midnight.
In addition to UFC: Main Event, FIVE's sister channel, FIVE USA, is now the new home of the UFC's groundbreaking reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter. The most successful series of its kind, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) sees reality television collide with combat sport as 16 of the best unsigned mixed martial arts fighters in the world live together, train together and ultimately fight each other for the prize of a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
UFC UK Division President Marshall Zelaznik said: "This is a huge step for the UFC in the UK. We are delighted to partner up with FIVE - who are trailblazers in their approach to both sports and programming - and bring the best bouts and the world's greatest fighters to the largest possible audience. We know we are going to create a whole new generation of UFC fans on FIVE. The UFC continues to smash records at the biggest arenas in the British Isles for our live events and form partnerships with the biggest names in British broadcasting."
Robert Charles, FIVE Head of Sport said: "We are excited to add the UFC to our sports portfolio and, indeed, add the Ultimate Fighter reality TV series to FIVE USA. We are well aware of the impact the UFC has made in the UK over the last few years and believe this is the perfect time for FIVE to climb inside the Octagon.
"In the UFC, the best fight the best in every single fight on every single event and FIVE are proud to bring the very best UFC action to our viewers. Over the coming months, all the biggest names from the fastest growing sport in the world will be in action on FIVE."
UFC: MAIN EVENT The regular one-hour UFC: Main Event shows will air on FIVE Sunday nights at midnight. The first instalment hits the airwaves on at midnight Monday night, September 14, when FIVE will broadcast the instant classic between heavyweight icons Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Randy Couture, along with other exciting bouts the UFC 102 super-card which took place in Portland, Oregon, USA on August 30.
Upcoming editions of UFC: Main Event will showcase action from some of the biggest upcoming events and feature elite level talents like Rich Franklin, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida, UFC Heavyweight king Brock Lesnar, as well as British superstars 'The Outlaw' Dan Hardy and Michael 'The Count' Bisping.
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: THE HEAVYWEIGHTS Beginning Saturday, September 19 on FIVE USA, and screened every Saturday night at 11pm, The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights will showcase two teams of eight of the biggest and best up-and-coming heavyweights in all of mixed martial arts competing for the ultimate prize: a contract with the UFC.
Coaching the two heavyweight teams will be bitter rivals and former UFC champions Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and Rashad Evans, who are both every bit as motivated to win the competition as the 16 hopefuls themselves.
In literally the biggest ever series of the Ultimate Fighter, this year's contestants range from former NFL players
turned fighters to some of the largest cult names in mixed martial arts. Plus, urban-fighting legend Kimbo Slice storms into the UFC determined to prove his big punching 'street-certified' style is for real.
Zelaznik said: "TUF 10 is the most exciting series yet. The dynamic between coaches Rampage and Rashad is something we've not seen in a long time. These guys can't stand each other and want their guys to win at all costs. Plus, we have some gigantic men as well as gigantic talents looking to fight their way to stardom."
Charles said: "The Ultimate Fighter is one of the most exciting reality TV series' there is. Previous winners of TUF have gone on to become millionaire world champions in the mixed martial arts world. We believe TUF's combination of reality TV and hard-hitting action make this one of the most compelling shows on television. There are other shows that categorise themselves as "reality TV", but allowing the contestants to fight each other inside the Octagon truly is as real as it gets."