Today, what was once considered the modern blood-sport version of Roman gladiatorial combat, a sport so savage that Arizona senator John McCain referred to it as “human cockfighting” and tried to have it banned in Arizona, has now reached into America’s family rooms. In what must be one of the most stunning turns in sports history, Ultimate Fighting Championship has signed a seven-year, $90 million deal with FOX which will air four live fights per year on FOX, and another 24 live fights on FX in conjunction with UFC’s reality show The Ultimate Fighter.
David Hill, Fox Sports Chairman, told The Atlantic, “We are going to grow this sport. It’s only a decade old, and already has a worldwide mainstream fan base”. Saying it “creates heroes of a new generation”, UFC has masterfully reversed its once decadent public image, and turned itself into the hottest sport going. Maybe running needs full contact zones. (more…)