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Morning Report: Dana White says next season of The Ultimate Fighter ‘might be the last one’

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Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In 2005, the UFC was struggling to find a foothold in the greater global consciousness when Dana White and the Fertitta brothers had an idea: build a reality television program - The Ultimate Fighter - around the sport and the fighters to Trojan Horse the UFC into the mainstream. It worked and the TUF Finale fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar is now widely credited as the single-most pivotal moment in MMA history. But now, the UFC’s flagship program may be on its final voyage.

Speaking with MMAJunkie over the weekend, Dana White discussed the UFC’s new ESPN deal and what it would mean for the UFC going forward, saying that he didn’t know what would happen but that The Ultimate Fighter could be finished after its next season.

“We don’t know yet,” White said. “We’re coming up on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter. We don’t know. It might be the last one. 13 years, The Ultimate Fighter has gone. It’s incredible.”

For 13 years, The Ultimate Fighter has aired on the UFC’s television provider, Spike TV originally and then FOX Sports 1 later. But last week, ESPN brokered a deal to purchase the UFC broadcast rights currently owned by Fox, making ESPN and their digital streaming service, ESPN+, the new home of the UFC, all for the substantial price of $300 million per year for five years. But though the UFC’s marquee series may be going the way of the dodo, White says there will be plenty of other content for the avid fight fan to keep up with.

“That’s exactly right, 42 shows [a year],” White said. “I have the ability to make some original content for those guys too, and it’s going to be awesome. ESPN wouldn’t cover us; now we’re on ESPN. Anybody who doesn’t think this is a win, just shut up. Stop covering the sport if you think this isn’t a win.”

Among those 42 shows will be 20 Fight Night events per year as well as all future seasons of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series which will move over to ESPN’s digital platform. As for the UFC’s own digital streaming service, White says Fight Pass isn’t going anywhere.

“Fight Pass is gonna be the destination where the entire library sits and you can go in and watch whatever fight you want too or whatever other content we have on there,” White said. “So that’ll be the same. And this ESPN deal is [only for the] U.S. So, Fight Pass is the rest of the world.”

It’s a new era for the UFC.


MUST-READ STORIES

Liverpool. Darren Till edged Stephen Thompson plus the other results from UFC Liverpool.

London. Gegard Mousasi wins middleweight title and the other Bellator 200 results.

Arrest. Nick Diaz arrested on domestic violence charges.

Iceman. Chuck Liddell’s coach John Hackleman on feud with Jon Jones: ‘I don’t like it.’

Update. Dana White updates status of meeting with Conor McGregor, potential Khabib Nurmagomedov fight.


VIDEO STEW

Till entrance yesterday was amazing.

Bellator highlights.

Layla McCarter (boxing champ) responding to Cyborg’s call out.

The classiest sport of all.

The best remix.

Also excellent.


LISTEN UP

Fight Companion. Joe Rogan’s live fight companion of UFC Liverpool.

6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC Liverpool.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

This was the best thing that happened all weekend.

Gaethje furious about the main event.

Other reactions.

All class.

Super weird.

Friends.

Gegard Mousasi is a bad man.

Khabib.

Max is great.

Ancient beef.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2011: Demetrious Johnson earned a UFC bantamweight title shot by winning a unanimous decision over Miguel Torres at UFC 130.

2017: Alexander Gustafsson knocked out Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 109.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Happy Memorial Day to all those celebrating and to those readers who active duty or have served, thank you for your service. See y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who do you think won the main event at UFC Liverpool?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Stephen Thompson
    (834 votes)
  • 31%
    Darren Till
    (378 votes)
1212 votes total Vote Now

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