Why the UFC on FOX is good for the sport of MMAPosted on August 18, 2011, 04:46 PM by Ryan Ventura
Longtime fight fans do you remember the days when we had to look far and wide for fight footage? I remember the days watching UFC events from an illegal black PPV box. The days of ordering VHS tapes from infomercials, buying them from Martial Arts shops, and the ads from Black Belt magazine are pretty much long gone. Before the internet, it was hard to find fights to watch. In 2011, Mixed Martial Arts is everywhere. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year we have access to nearly every fight recorded at our finger tips. From on-demand digital services to online video services. You can watch fights from the comfort of your own home or on the go on your iPhone. The media distribution for our sport has never looked better and the fastest growing sport in the world just took a big step in the right direction.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced their seven year partnership with FOX and its umbrella of networks which include FX and FUEL TV. The UFC is already very much embedded into mainstream pop culture with its previous deal with SPIKE, but FOX as we in know in North America is considered a much more legitimate network. FOX has some of the most sought after programing on television which attracts millions of viewers and has some of the best revenue from advertising on their network. From NASCAR to the Super Bowl, FOX has aired some of sport’s premier events and TV shows. FOX is also in more homes in North America compared to SPIKE.
The UFC being part of the FOX network further legitimizes our sport as being a “true sport” right alongside Major League Baseball and the NFL. This has been a long time coming from the days of being banned on TV, banned from PPV, and something that was once viewed as “human cockfighting”. More exposure, more advertising revenue, could equal more pay-per-view buys. Not only would there be more money for the promotion, but more money for the fighters we pay to see. I expect to see more corporate sponsors being represented in the Octagon one day too. Many Japanese fighters have been sponsored by brands like Nike for many years, but I expect to see these brands become even more common with the recent television deal. Even with ZUFFA’s sponsorship fee, these big companies are more than able to afford the fee. They would be more willing to pay these fees too with the new exposure the promotion will be getting.
With the UFC now being featured on the FOX network what could that mean for smaller promotions? Personally, I believe for the lesser known promotions this deal is a positive thing for them too. Other networks will catch on to the increased MMA buzz and would be more open to having the sport featured in their programing schedule. We already have networks like HD Net, MTV2, and Showtime that show Mixed Martial Arts programing. I expect to see even more, maybe even double the MMA that is already shown on TV. I highly doubt there’ll be anyone that even comes close to dethroning the UFC as the number one promotion in the world, but that’s ok. I think there is a need and a niche that needs to be met to see the best up and comers of the sport. In order for fighters to develop and grow into superstars, they need a stage to show off their craft.
Our sport is still very much in its infancy stage and it’s come a long way from what it used to be. It still has a lot of growing up to do, but I’m very optimistic for what the future has in store.
Agree? Disagree? Drop your two cents in the comment box.