Jon Anik Says He’s Excited By The Potential of the UFC’s Deal WIth ESPN

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes its
official debut on ESPN+ this Saturday, and one of the
organization’s busiest employees sees it as an exciting
opportunity.

The UFC’s seven-year relationship with Fox ended in December,
making way for a new broadcast partnership with sports giant ESPN.
UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik says he’s excited about the
much-anticipated move to the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in
Sports,” and what it can do for MMA in terms of exposure to new
markets. The new deal will be a homecoming of sorts for Anik, who,
previous to his job as play-by-play man for the UFC and before
that, Bellator MMA, hosted a web series, “MMA Live,” that
was picked up by ESPN and broadcast on cable in 2010-2011.

Anik was a guest on the latest episode of The
MMA Hour
and told host Luke Thomas the deal was something
people in the sport have worked a long time to achieve.

“I think it’s exciting,” Anik said. “I think it’s very interesting
that you’re going to have this great set of prelims on linear ESPN,
and then all of a sudden people are going to realize that if you
want to see Dillashaw and Cejudo, you’ve gotta either go on some
device or if you’ve got one of those fancy TVs — I think it’s
going to be a transition for a lot of people. But big picture, I’m
excited. When Francis
Ngannou
and Cain
Velasquez
fight on ESPN, with respect to Cain-JDS 1 on FOX and
the launching of FS1 in 2013, and you know how much respect I have
for those people, but a UFC Fight Night in prime time on ESPN,
that’s been the goal since we started MMA Live in 2008. So, even if
I wasn’t around for that, for a lot of us who were sort of grinding
our gears at ESPN and getting nowhere in mixed martial arts setting
back then, it’s like, mission accomplished. We’ve got a UFC fight
night on ESPN? That’s what we’ve always been working for.”



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