Today, the UFC announced one of the biggest partnerships in their history, joining up with the FOX Networks in 2012. The details are below on what is going where and how the FOX pairing is a huge accomplishment not only for the UFC but MMA in general. The deal was told to be 7 years and in the ballpark of 90 million dollars.
The Ultimate Fighter
The show that was a staple on Spike-TV will now transfer over to the channel FX in 2012. The show will be changed to a full live show (shows will be taped that week and aired on that Friday). In the past the show was taped 3 or 4 months before it was aired and at times many people would know results ahead of time, ruining the show for many fans.
Also there will be a huge fan interaction as they will now be given the chance to vote on who fights who. This is a huge change of pace that will most certainly draw in more interest to the already successful show.
4 Main Cards
Fox has announced they will carry 4 cards and Dana White has said there will be tons of great fights and even possible Championship bouts. These shows will draw in many people that are still on the fence about the sport and will increase exposure of the UFC on a major network.
Another sister station of the Fox Networks Fuel TV will carry the pre and post-fight shows of the UFC and Fox will provide their personalities for those shows. Fuel TV will also show the Fight Night and Ultimate Knockouts type-shows that Spike TV currently airs.
FOX will air its first MMA event on November 12th of this year going head to head with the Manny Pacquiao fight. Nothing has been announced yet regarding the event but the possible location of it happening could be in Anaheim, California. There will be huge cross promotion, according to Fox Executives and this can really persuade many to watch the free UFC card than the paid boxing PPV event.
With this deal the UFC is taking a huge step towards spreading not only their own business but what MMA is really about. Dana White and company have really made a huge step toward making MMA that much more relevant. There were talks of the UFC buying their own channel and developing a MMA 24/7 format. However, that did not happen and with the UFC they are expanding their company and the sport in general to a broader audience.
With the deal being 7 years, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts will continue to grow and open the doors to a possible channel down the road that features MMA all the time. Watching the press conference today it seemed like everybody was in great spirits and the deal is a huge success for any current fan of the sport and the UFC.
Dana also mentioned that the UFC in general will change everything up in terms of production and make it feel like a fresh start for everybody involved. So if you were a fan of the Gladiator in the openings of the show, he will be going away. It would make sense though to change things up to impress others that are viewing the product and really show that the company cares about their new partnership.
The UFC continues to do business that not only makes sense for them but for the fans that care for the sport. Teaming up with FOX was an the best choice for the UFC in terms of getting their company even more exposure and opening up other possibilities in the future.
FOX already has robots for the respective sports they air, so seeing a MMA fighter as one is a good possibility.