UFC on FOX Disappointment

Sunday, November 13th, 2011 by Tony Reid

This was supposed to be epic, groundbreaking, the sport of mixed martial arts’ big splash on the biggest of stages. MMA and the UFC specifically would be broadcast in over 100 million homes. The UFC Heavyweight Championship was on the line as Cain Velasquez was set to defend his strap against top contender Junior Dos Santos. And then it was over before it really started. I must say, as a member of the community and an MMA addict, I was not impressed with the UFC and FOX’s performance. Sure, the fight was exciting, it had a dramatic and definitive finish and with the sport being so dynamic we can never predict if a fight will go 25 seconds or 25 minutes but look at this event as a new fan or a casual observer, which was the major goal here.

The UFC had an hour on primetime on a Saturday night on a major network. In those 60 minutes we saw 64 seconds of actual action. If a casual fan were to sit down and expect an hour of fights they would be extremely disappointed. As any true fan of the sport knows, a good percentage of excitement is based on the undercard. That is one of the areas where MMA outdoes Boxing. Boxing = one big fight, MMA= three hours of great fights. This looked more like a boxing production in that sense, one big fight and a lot of talk. As a hardcore fan looking at this, we all know rabid fans tune in to see some of their favorite fighters go at it long before the main event of the evening. Why not try to grow the casual fan into a diehard by displaying some of the other great talent on the card? There should have been better use of that hour time block by displaying at least one or two other fights. How much would the general public have eaten up Clay Guida and his personality, his look and his fighting style?

As far as produciton, the hardcore fans will miss Stem’s music, (the only pain they will be facing is having to listen to Curt Menefee as if we were watching Sunday Football on FOX), the genuine excitement displayed by Goldie and Rogan (of course they are still in place but we won’t see Rogan’s craziness at such a high level, that might scare The Smith Family watching “Ultimate FIghting” for the first time) the build up to the big fight by watching other fights (and future main eventers to be sure) and other small intricacies that “Average Joe” could care less about. Sure these pieces are still there to some degree but like many other aspects they have been and will continue to be dulled down and diluted for the mainstream masses. This isn’t my first rodeo, I have a busines background, and I understand some of the concessions that must be made to move from a channel like SPIKE to a channel like FOX but I am still allowed to miss these things we have grown to love over the years!

I am excited and proud of what the UFC has accomplished with this network TV deal. It truly is monumental in many ways but I, as any fan, casual or otherwise would like to have seen more action for this huge debut on such a huge stage. I take nothing away from the main event, hell how could you argue with a TKO or KO in the main event and the Heavyweight Championship changing hands? But the goal was to educate new fans and introduce them to this great sport and it is pretty difficult to educate them in 64 seconds. Dana White said they were going to put their best foot forward.  It seems like they put all their eggs in one basket last night. The UFC and FOX television deal does not officially begin until January 2012 so I will hold off on any further negative talk and I’m hoping that the future events on FOX offer less talk as well.