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Cage Warriors signs exclusive deal with UFC Fight Pass

Leading European MMA promotion turns down TV opportunities to sign exclusive deal with UFC’s official streaming platform

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One key player largely forgotten about during the BT Sport / Eleven Sports shakeup at the end of 2018 was UK-based mixed martial arts promotion Cage Warriors.

The London-headquartered organisation, which has made its name as a launchpad for dozens of European fighters to achieve success in the UFC, had a deal with BT Sport to show its events live.

The product sat as a perfect domestic accompaniment to BT Sport’s UFC coverage, allowing MMA fans the opportunity to watch top-class European action on a UK timezone.

But with the news of the UFC’s deal with Eleven Sports, it was unknown what would happen with Cage Warriors. And that uncertainty continued when Eleven’s UK presence fell flat and the UFC pulled their broadcast deal with Andrea Radrissani’s company.

Many believed that with the UFC remaining on BT Sport, Cage Warriors would follow suit. But instead of re-upping their deal with the Stratford-based broadcaster, Cage Warriors have instead signed an exclusive deal with UFC Fight Pass.

Cage Warriors’ deal with UFC Fight Pass builds on their existing relationship with the UFC’s official online streaming service having had their events streamed live internationally on the platform while also being shown on BT Sport in the UK.

But now the promotion has gone all-in with UFC Fight Pass, signing a three-year deal that was first reported in the Sunday Times.

The deal from UFC Fight Pass reportedly saw potential TV suitors “blown out of the water” according to sources close to the deal as Cage Warriors strengthened their ties with the UFC via their streaming channel.

It means Cage Warriors’ status as a premier destination for the continent’s best fighting talent is further strengthened, with almost 100 former Cage Warriors athletes making their way to the UFC after competing in the UK’s top promotion.

Cage Warriors are planning another packed schedule of events for 2019, with their first show, Cage Warriors 101, getting the ball rolling at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre on February 23.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 20 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including UFC world title fights, Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Grand National and the FA Cup Final.

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