Today, the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) MMA promotion and the NBC Sports Group announced that they had reached a multi-year agreement that will extend and expand the major network's involvement with the sport. WSOF has partnered with NBC for the past year and a half, with its events largely airing on NBC cable networks.
Under the new deal, however, WSOF events will air on the main NBC broadcast network. The first-ever live NBC MMA broadcast will be of the July 5 WSOF 11 card, featuring a main event between undefeated lightweights Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell.
NBC will then televise WSOF's year-end card on Dec. 27. In all, 14 WSOF events will be televised somewhere in the NBC Sports Group universe in 2014.
Retired fighter and WSOF president Ray Sefo, speaking with Cagewriter about the announcement Tuesday afternoon from New Zealand, said that getting his fight cards on "big" NBC was always the goal for the promotion. "Absolutely. We always wanted to get on the biggest platform there is," he said.
"When negotiations began and we were going back and forth, that become a possibility. From day one we had wanted that but we didn't have any history as a promotion at the time, in terms of putting on shows so we really had to convince [NBC] that we were capable of putting one of the best shows in the world, on... Obviously, we’ve proven ourselves as a fight league to get this contract extended is huge for us huge for our fighters."
NBC's president of programming Jon Miller echoed Sefo's sentiments in a statement, saying that he and the network were "excited to broaden" their partnership with the fledgling MMA organization.