With the UFC’s recent lineup of Wednesday night programming in the dumps, the world’s biggest promotion is looking to switch things up for their upcoming Fight Night events. It’s not in the way you’d expect, however.
UFC Fight Night 38 is scheduled to air this March from the Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, Brazil, live on FOX Sports 1. But its date of March 23 surprisingly falls on a Sunday. Apparently March 22 was already occupied by a motocross event. Mike Chiappetta of FOX Sports confirmed the surprising announcement on Twitter:
And yes, if you checked your calendar, 3/23 is a Sunday. The UFC is indeed producing a Sunday event. FOX Sports 1 has a motocross event 3/22
— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) January 21, 2014
The event is expected to be headlined by the rumored Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua rematch, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
As far as the Sunday time slot, NFL football will be over by that time but college basketball will be in full swing. It may or may not be a good idea to put on a UFC show on a Sunday, but it’s most likely a death sentence to try and compete with the NCAA tournament.
The UFC has booked a show opposite other big events before and lost. It happened with UFC on FOX 3 two years ago, but Lorenzo Fertitta was unfazed by what transpired, calling it a learning experience.
However, if “Hendo” and “Shogun” do end up locking horns, it’s not going to matter much for hardcore MMA fans.
And with so many cards set to air this year, it doesn’t seem like the UFC is all that concerned with a few shows tanking in the ratings. That’s probably the best point of view for them, because with a record number of fights set to take place this year, they can’t all be blockbusters.
But are they making a mistake by booking a card for Sunday night, or are they simply running out of booking slots with their rapid expansion?