Boxer Tyson Fury, who has previously made homophobic comments, signed a deal with the US network ESPN reportedly worth £80m.
According to the BBC, the deal means ESPN will air Fury’s next five fights in the US. The British boxer’s fights will continuing airing on BT in the UK.
Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, said the popularity and breadth of ESPN gives his client a ‘bigger platform’.
‘This ESPN situation for him is probably one of the biggest things to happen to a British sportsman. It’s something special,’ he continued.
As part of the deal, Warren will continue promoting Fury alongside Top Rank CEO Bob Arum in the US. Arum previously promoted Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather.
The biggest question the deal raises is what it means for a rematch between Fury and Deontay Wilder.
The two boxers, both undefeated, faced off in December 2018. It ended in a controversial split draw.
Fury believes this deal makes the rematch ‘more makeable’, but Showtime airs Wilder’s fights in the US. Both sides reportedly still want the rematch, but as Warren said, Showtime is no longer ‘the only game in town’.
‘It’s up to us to sit down and get it over the line,’ he said.
In 2015, Fury was accused of ‘aggressive homophobia’ after he equated gay rights with the ‘end of days’.
He was investigated for the comments, but ultimately faced no charges and was not banned from the sport.
Despite the comments, the BBC kept Fury shortlisted to become Sports Personality of the Year. One of their journalists, Andy West, spoke out against this decision and was suspended after writing on Facebook he was ‘ashamed to work for the BBC’ over this decision.
Fury tweeted out he was retired in 2016, but then decided not to retire after all.
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