With the news of the first UFC on FOX being a success all around, Dan Bell was kind enough to talk with MMA Disputed. The Vice President of Communications talked spoke about the great ratings the show pulled in and what they expect for the second broadcast, that will take place here in Chicago.
What are your thoughts of how the first UFC FOX show went?
I think it went great. From our respective it couldn’t have gone better. We started off the day with a prefight show on FUEL TV as well as the red carpet event with celebrities from the area coming down to check out the first network broadcast. On the air and the attention was incredible. The ratings were really strong and the advertisers were very supportive. The official rating was 3.5 with just under 6 million viewers for the night. With this being the first time being on Network TV and we were introducing this sport to a whole new audience it was a huge success.
Was there any discussion of having more than one fight to be televised?
To the best of my knowledge no there wasn’t. It was all about the Heavyweight Championship to be concentrated on. Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez are two both great fighters and it is certainly a drawing point to fans of the sport new and old. Obviously, we wanted to the fight to go longer but this is like every other sport. If we could control the way the sports ended we would have a lot more sports coming to our network, but that’s the way things fall. We always hope for the best explosive ending but sometimes, things don’t work out that way. The UFC delivered with the first fight on FOX and it will continue to deliver for every event we broadcast
How much did you know about MMA when FOX and the UFC made the 7 year deal?
I knew about the sport before the deal was made because Dana and Lorenzo already made the sport mainstream. I knew the basic rules and the different weight classes, so I knew the basic things of the sport. When I was younger I was a boxing fan in Chicago so I can definitely take some things from that and incorporate it to MMA.
When will the advertising spots show up again on other shows for the next show on January 28th?
I would probably say in the next couple of weeks. It could be definitely sooner, but the promos are already in the works and it all depends when the company wants to run them. But I’m sure in the next few weeks you will be seeing them during the Sunday football games.
Are there things that FOX would like to change for the next broadcast that takes place?
I think we are still discussing details regarding the second broadcast. We can definitely talk in the next few weeks, regarding what changed are being discussed and making the broadcast. With a 2 hour show there will be a lot more time to make it better, and I’m sure working with the UFC it will happen.
With the card being in Chicago on January 28th what are your thoughts of having it at the United Center?
Well personally I think this is a great idea because for one I am from Chicago and it will be a great venue to host a MMA card. With the Bulls and Blackhawks playing inside that arena, there’s nothing else like it. Chicago is a great passionate sports city, and we are very excited to bringing our production to the downtown area.
Does FOX have any input regarding what fighters or fighters that should be put on the broadcasts?
I think Dana White and Joe Silva do a great job on putting together great fights and they are the experts. We have the trust in him that he will bring the best fights there is and we don’t want to get in the way of what they do so well. We could ask for a million things but they know what they are doing, and we just wait for whatever they decide.
Will we keep Cleatus (The Robot) away from MMA broadcasts?
I can’t promise you that. There’s always a possibility that he pops up during the broadcast. He’s a staple on NFL on FOX so you never know if he might cross over.
Since the glowing pucks were big during your NHL broadcasts, will we be introduced to glowing gloves?
That’s a great idea. I might have to send that to David Hill and see what he says.