Multiple sources have told Fighters Only that ESPN is likely to pull out of the UK market in the coming months.
The channel is owned by the Disney corporation and moved into the UK following the collapse of Setanta Sports several years ago.
ESPN UK picked up Premiership Football broadcasting rights and also landed the UFC broadcasting contract. But the Premiership rights have now gone elsewhere and apparently so to has the UFC.
The result is that the UK market looks increasingly unviable from a financial perspective, with close-down or a sale of the channel likely.
Fighters Only got the following comment from an ESPN UK spokesman when asked if the channel would be closing down: “We have been saying for some time that we are exploring a range of potential options for our business in the UK. We are not going to discuss specifics.”
In other news, sources are also indicating that the UFC UK operation is on its way to Sky Sports. This was first broached by Graham Boylan, owner of European promotion CageWarriors, which recently saw its own Sky Sports deal cancelled.