Cool photo from Fedor via Facebook.
Dana White has been “no commenting” a lot during recent weeks. Especially when it came to the details of a potential deal arising quickly with FOX Network.
Offers have been piling up on the table.
Already negotiating a contract renewal with SpikeTV, the UFC also had new offers coming in from CBS, Comcast, and another unique opportunity to overtake the G4 network and turn the channel into a 24/7 MMA network.
Then the UFC then received an out of the park offer from FOX. A seven-year deal worth over $100 million annually. This includes four prime time, LIVE event broadcasts per year on FOX, and great time slots for the hit TV show The Ultimate Fighter. on the network channel and Fox Sports channels.
“The Fox deal accelerated at 100 mph in recent months.”
- Dana White (UFC President)
Exposure for MMA and then UFC is continuing to skyrocket, and as mixed martial arts becomes more of a mainstream sports it’s clear that the sky’s the limit.
The UFC’s debut broadcast event on FOX will be from the Honda Center in Anaheim ,CA on November 12th, 2011.
He’s the breakout star of 2011, and at UFC 135, light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will look to finish out the year with another spectacular victory when he defends his belt against his toughest challenge yet, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Watch UFC 135: Jones vs Rampage Live on Pay-Per-View and www.UFC.tv on Saturday, Sept 24th at 6/9pm PT/ET.
UFC president Dana White shocked the world Friday by announcing on a media conference call that the world heavyweight championship fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos has been moved from the Nov. 19 UFC 139 pay-per-view to the organization’s Nov 12 debut on FOX.
While many doubted that the organization would sacrifice the possible pay-per-view revenue by moving the UFC 139 headliner, this was always the biggest fight that could be made for the organization’s network television debut, particularly as the event will go up against the start of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez boxing pay-per-view. With Hispanic fight fans sitting down to cheer on JMM later in the evening, Nov. 12 is the perfect opportunity to introduce Velasquez to the Mexican fanbase.
Additionally, the words “world heavyweight title fight” have a cache to fight fans of a certain age, one magnified by traditional combat sports such as boxing and pro-wrestling having done such a rotten job of promoting and protecting their titles. On the conference call, White already started pushing the fight as the return of the heavyweight championship to network television, playing the UFC president’s long-established narrative that the UFC is to this generation what boxing was to previous ones.
One imagines that the hand-wringing articles from the boxing press wondering why the UFC’s heavyweight championship is featured prominently on America’s premier sports network while boxing’s has over the years struggled to get onto premium cable are already being written. White wasted no time sticking the knife into a moribund heavyweight division, saying that this will be a ‘barnburner’ while boxing’s heavyweight rulers, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, put people to sleep.
While the UFC president admitted that the details of the broadcast were still were being worked out, there is no doubting that it’s going to be a great leap forward for the organization. White promised a major overhaul to promotion and talked about how one of the advantages of just having one live fight on the hour show was that it gave them the chance to devote time to introducing a new audience to the world’s fastest growing sport.
FOX officials talked about their plans for an hour preview on Oct. 30, following the network’s NFL game to use the biggest possible audience to introduce both Velasquez and Dos Santos to young male sports fans. They’re also planning to organize a “Super Bowl-style” tailgate party featuring celebrities on the night of the fight. Despite FOX only getting final word on the fight Thursday night, ads for the fight will air on the channel’s college football and baseball programming this weekend.
Friday’s announcement shows that with the new television deal, it’s anything but business as usual for the UFC. The company’s debut on network television is a momentous occasion and one to which the organization is fully committed. The UFC’s debut on FOX gives the organization the chance to showcase two of its best fighters and hold up its world championships as being on par with major sporting trophies such as the Super Bowl, Champions League and World Series that have all been broadcast on the network this year.
By delivering what White called the UFC’s “most prestigious championship,” the organization is maximizing the buzz surrounding its network debut by heralding the return of heavyweight championship fighting to network television.
Written by: Will Cooling
BIG NIGHT for Brazil as they host the first UFC event since 1998 in the birthplace of Brazilian Jiu jitsu, and a modern corner-stone for mixed martial arts!