The UFC has made it to network prime-time programming.
Mixed martial arts' dominant promotional company announced a seven-year deal with Fox on Thursday, putting four UFC shows on the network each year, beginning Nov. 12. The UFC also will appear prominently on FX, with live fights on most Friday nights and a revamped version of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC's popular reality show. Other events and programming will appear on other Fox networks, including Fuel TV.
UFC President Dana White said the deal is the biggest step yet in MMA's transformation from a banned fringe sport into the national mainstream.
Fox will allow the UFC to control its own production, which had been a stumbling block in White's negotiations with network TV. White says he wants to make a fresh start in every aspect of UFC's programming, working with Fox to improve even its pay-per-view broadcasts.
— ESPNU will nationally televise two state high school football games this fall: Evangel Christian (La.) at Tulsa Union at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 and Bethany at Heritage Hall at 7 p.m. Oct. 28.
— “The Oklahoma High School Sports Express,” hosted by Van Shea Iven, returns for its fall season at 10:30 p.m. Sunday on KOKH-25. The premiere will feature coverage of the All-State Games.
— The Tulsa Sports Animal (FM 97.1) is carrying St. Louis Rams broadcasts this season.
— CBS Sports' Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Tony Barnhart will preview the upcoming college football season on a one hour “College Football Preview” at 1 p.m. Saturday on KWTV-9.
— Cox plans to use Rod Thompson as the analyst for both Oklahoma City and Tulsa high school football telecasts. He will work with Steve Marshall on the Oklahoma City games and Mike Wolfe on the Tulsa games. Cox does not plan to use a sideline reporter this season.
— NBC kicks off its NFL preseason schedule with San Diego at Dallas at 7 p.m. Sunday. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will call the game, and Michele Tafoya will make her NBC debut as a sideline reporter.
— The NFL Network will have a live doubleheader Saturday, with New Orleans at Houston at 7 p.m. and then join Minnesota at Seattle in progress at about 10 p.m.