White confirms TUF to continue in new ESPN deal

August 8, 2018

Dana White has confirmed that The Ultimate Fighter will continue as part of the ESPN deal despite record-low ratings the past several seasons on FS1.

After the season finale of Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday night, White told reporters of the future of the series. “There’s still a huge market for ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ still does well.”

The last season of TUF on FS1 will feature Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum as coaches this fall. It will then move to ESPN as part of the new deal announced earlier this year.

White indicated that TUF would move to ESPN or ESPN+ and stated that its likely to air once a year as opposed to the two seasons per year.

Payout Perspective:

It was ironic that White spoke about the future of TUF at the end of his Contender Series which is essentially what TUF was made to be. Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series has been a success this summer with some good prospects, great fights and the reality show element of White choosing fighter(s) for contracts in the UFC. TUF has shown its age throughout the past several years as it went from a something pitched as live content to a show that picks up viewers via DVR. But, with the new deal with ESPN, it is likely looking for content for its ESPN + platform so I would imagine it would be something the network would be interested on seeing if it has traction.

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