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UFC's network TV return imminent, Anthony Pettis becomes a free agent

The UFC's relationship with Disney appears to be extending past ESPN as soon as next month.

Based on a tweet, MMA Fighting and MMA Junkie confirmed and reported Tuesday that the UFC is planning to return to network TV on Saturday, January 16th on ABC. Headlined by Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar, the event is the first of three in eight days on Fight Island.

Neither MMAF or Junkie couldĀ confirm what portion would be on ABC and what would be on the various ESPN networks. UFC president Dana White (seen above) shared a photo of the Junkie report on his Instagram without comment, essentially confirming the news.

If it indeed comes through, this would be the UFC's first show on network TV since December 15, 2018 -- their final UFC on Fox event which closed out a six year deal that preceded the ESPN contract.

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Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is becoming a free agent.

Days after he defeated Alex Morono by decision at the UFC's final event of the year, Pettis took to social media to announce the news, accompanied by a thank you letter to the UFC, Dana White, the Fertittas, and others.

Pettis was part of the WEC merger in 2010. After winning their lightweight title with the "Showtime kick" on Benson Henderson in their final ever event, he lost to Clay Guida in his UFC debut. However, he rebounded and defeated Henderson for the UFC version of the title and defended it successfully once in a submission win over Gilbert Melendez.

After losing the title to Rafael dos Anjos in his next fight, he never got back to that championship level again and failed to get back-to-back wins until his last two UFC boutsĀ -- a stretch of 12 fights over four years. Along the way, he experimented with both featherweight and welterweight, flipping back and forth between 155 and 170 frequently the last few years.

Pettis' brother, Sergio, fights for Bellator.

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MMA Junkie via MMA DNA noted that a planed but yet-to-be announced January 30th UFC card is no longer on the books and any fights planned for that date are being moved.