Tonight marked the first UFC on FOX telecast where we saw the title change hands when Cain Velazquez fell to Junior Dos Santos. Two great fighters, in the main event, for the heavyweight championship. It played out as followed however...35 minutes of pre-fight coverage, followed by a one minute and four second fight, with a celebration interrupted by commercials. The short fight was perfectly fine by me, it’s a part of MMA, but the other nonsense I could have gone without.
When news of the deal between FOX and UFC was announced, I could not have been more excited. Free fights? Of course it was not going to be a completely free endeavor, but even a few fights a year on basic cable is a plus. If it is done right that is.
Every UFC event that I can remember meant a night of fights, some big names, some rising stars, and some no names, being given their chance to shine in front of millions. Many of those who went out to watch the fights tonight might have been slightly disappointed when coverage began at 9 p.m. For those who did not know, the ONLY fight to be shown on FOX tonight was the main event, the heavyweight title fight scheduled for five, 5 minute rounds. Part of watching mixed martial arts events are knowing that anything can happen when you tune into the 2.5-3 hours of coverage, which usually consists of five fights. It could be the first fight of the night that proves to be the one everyone is talking about the next day. The names less familiar to us might be the fighters with the most to prove, and the most to fight for. These fights were available online to watch, but how many people who went out to watch them did not have that option?
Yahoo reported that UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta projected a $16 million hit in revenue by airing the fight for free on FOX rather than on Pay-Per-View. The payoff was the expectation of gaining 100,000 fans. This indeed might have happened tonight. However, not at the expense of the fans that did not watch their first MMA fight tonight. I feel a bit cheated that the culmination of all the hype, the interviews, the Dana White airtime, was all for ONE fight. It was not the norm, it was the UFC sacrificing to gain a few fans. These fans will now pay $59.99 for next weeks UFC event on Pay-Per-View. It’ was a brilliant plan on UFC'’s part...Sacrifice a little, make most fans happy to see a free fight, expose more people to the world of mixed martial arts, and promote the UFC with a great headlining fight. Most fans will not think much of it, but I can not help but feel slighted that I did not get the full experience that I have come to expect with UFC events. The fight itself was another battle between two great fighters, even if it did only last for a minute. That doesn’t matter…If I could please get the 35 minutes that preceded the fight however, back that would be great. And to watch Dos Santos celebrate would have been nice as well, but watching two minutes of commercials instead replaced most of his celebration. I know it has to be paid for, but really? Right after he won the title and before they interviewed him they had to sneak a commercial in there? At the end of the day, one more fight on the main card would satisfy me...just one more fight makes it more of an event and less of a publicity stunt.