UFC Scores Yahoo! Pay-Per-View Pact

Expanding its relationship with the portal, Ultimate Fighting Championship has pinned a deal under which Yahoo! Sports will be the online distributor for the group’s pay-per-view events.

The first event as part of the new agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, is UFC 82: Pride of a Champion March 1. It will be available at www.sports.yahoo.com/ufc82.

UFC president Dana White, who told Multichannel News in an interview, that the deal gives the group global reachn

It was unclear at press time what kind of impact the availability of the UFC cards on the Web would have on In Demand, which distributes the organization’s events to the cable industry. In addition to In Demand, UFC, which is owned and operated by Las Vegas-headquartered Zuffa, LLC and produces more that a dozen live PPV events annually, has those cards distributed residentially through North America via DirecTV, Dish, TVN Entertainment, Shaw Pay-Per-View, Bell ExpressVU and Viewers Choice; and commercially through Joe Hand Promotions. 

According to the aforementioned Web site, buyers, for $44.95, will not only gain access to the card, headlined by Anderson “Spider Man” Silva defending his UFC middleweight crown against Pride champion Dan Henderson, but 24 hours of unlimited archival viewing.

The PPV pact follows the relationship the parties began last year via which Yahoo! began disseminating news, information and entertainment coverage of the mixed-martial arts company. In October, Yahoo! Sports launched a channel dedicated fully to MMA, offering fans access to live streaming of UFC pay-per-view weigh-ins, press conferences and a wide range of UFC video content.

“This relationship with Yahoo! is an important step for the UFC to build its global distribution platform for live pay-per-view events,” said White in a statement. “We are looking forward to working with Yahoo! Sports to expand our reach and bring the sport of mixed martial arts to fight fans in every corner of the world in every possible language.”

Last fall, after exploring other potential cable-distribution deals with such networks as HBO, UFC reached a three-year extension of its contract with Spike TV. The deal gives Spike TV exclusive rights to UFC's popular The Ultimate Fighter reality series and other live match content through 2011.

For more with MCN's interview with White, click here.