Mar 4, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor during weigh-ins for UFC 196 fight against Nate Diaz (not pictured) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-266164 ORIG FILE ID: 20160304_mjr_su5_017.JPG

ESPN To Become Exclusive Home to UFC in 2019

ESPN is reportedly forking out $1.5 billion over five years to land the exclusive broadcast rights to the UFC starting in 2019.

ESPN has decided to take over the entire UFC television rights starting in 2019.

As first reported by Variety, ESPN and the UFC have come to an agreement on a five year deal worth $1.5 billion for the Disney owned company to become the exclusive home of the mixed martial arts promotion starting next year.

ESPN had previously brokered a deal with the UFC for 15 live events for $750 million per year but it appears the two sides decided to sit back down at the negotiating table to hammer out an even better contract.

Now ESPN will receive 30 live UFC events per year in total that will be aired between ESPN and ESPN+. The UFC will still maintain their pay-per-view business as well as UFC Fight Pass.

In addition to that, the UFC pay-per-view prelims will air on ESPN or ESPN+.

10 live UFC Fight Night cards will air on ESPN with the other 20 airing on ESPN+.

The new deal that breaks down to an average of $300 million per year will see the UFC leave FOX after first teaming up with the company back in 2011. FOX was paying the UFC around $120 million per year on average so this new contract will more than double that to go to ESPN.

FOX had just reportedly come to an agreement with WWE to become the exclusive home to ‘Smackdown Live’ in 2019 with that deal worth around $1 billion for five years.

The UFC will shift their programming entirely to ESPN in Jan. 2019.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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