Sky Sports, the UK pay-TV heavyweight, has unveiled a rights tie-up with ONE Championship, the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.

The deal gives Sky rights to air both ONE events and “ancillary programming” across both its linear broadcast and digital platforms in the UK and Ireland. This is the first time ONE Championship has entered into an agreement with a major UK broadcaster.

The partnership begins on January 14, as ONE Fight Night 18 takes place in Bangkok, Thailand.

Chatri Sityodtong, chief executive and chair at ONE Championship said: “Today, I’m excited to announce a new partnership with Sky Sports, the premier broadcaster for live sports in the UK and one of the most well-known sports networks in the world. This deal marks an important milestone for the celebration of martial arts and the continued expansion of ONE Championship’s global footprint.”

Helen Falkus, director of multi-sports at Sky, added: "We’re pleased to partner with ONE Championship to bring their full range of martial arts to Sky Sports for the first time. We hope to bring new fans to the world-class competitive formats on our channels, as well as reach new audiences for Sky.”

For ONE Championship, this marks one of its first major European deals, while for Sky it represents an expansion into MMA, which is primarily shown in the UK by rival pay-TV network TNT Sports.

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That broadcaster, for example, holds rights to the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion.

The last major ONE Championship coverage deal, meanwhile, came in late September when the promotion entered into a tie-up across New Zealand and select Pacific Islands with the Fire combat sports network.

September also saw ONE Championship strike a deal with DirecTV, the US satellite broadcaster, which is now distributing its events in commercial venues across that country.