The UFC will debut on the ABC network for the first event of its 2021 schedule.
The promotion’s official broadcast partner ESPN announced UFC Fight Island 7, which takes place Jan. 16 in Abu Dhabi, will air live on ABC, confirming an earlier report from MMA Fighting of the UFC’s return to network TV for the first time since December 2018, when its previous broadcast deal with FOX ran its course.
The UFC’s new deal with ESPN, inked prior to its departure from FOX, gave the promotion access to the media empire owned by Disney, which first purchased a stake in the sports network in 1995 in one of the biggest media deals of the time. Disney now owns 80 percent of ESPN.
In non-sports programming, ABC recently took first place in overall viewers for the first time in 20 years. NBC and FOX regularly lead ratings via NFL broadcasts, though overall sports ratings are down significantly.
UFC Fight Island 7 is headlined by a featherweight fight between ex-champ Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar. According to ESPN’s release, the event’s preliminary card starts at 12 p.m. ET and streams live on ESPN+, while the main card kicks off at 3 p.m. ET. and airs both on ESPN+ and ABC.
Here is the full card for UFC Fight Island 7:
Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Li Jingliang
Joaquin Buckley vs. Alessio Di Chirico
Jacob Kilburn vs. Austin Lingo
David Zawada vs. Ramazan Emeev
Warlley Alves vs. Christian Aguilera
Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov