UFC strikes multi-year rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media

Pay-television broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media has acquired exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship media rights in the Middle East and North Africa, with the state-run group to launch a localised OTT service and mobile app in the region that will carry the property.

The multi-year deal includes all live events, pre and post-event programming and all original UFC programming.

Live UFC events will initially be broadcast on the Abu Dhabi Sports 4 television channel until the planned digital platforms are rolled out. These will give ADM customers online access to all live UFC events as well as a library with hundreds of hours of content that will be available in the Arabic language.

It is unclear if non-UFC content will also be shown on the digital platforms. ADM told SportBusness Media on Thursday it will provide more information “in the coming weeks”.

The first live event under the deal will be UFC 236: Holloway vs. Poirier 2, which takes place at State Farm Arena in the US city of Atlanta on Saturday.

ADM has replaced UFC’s previous partner in the region, Dubai-based pay-television broadcaster OSN. OSN’s deal was due to run from 2017 until 2021, but was cut short after the broadcaster closed five of its six own-brand sports channels, leaving UFC without a home.

ADM previously held UFC rights in Mena from 2014 to 2016.