This past Saturday Night, November 12th, the UFC made it’s much hyped debut on the TV network FOX when Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez put his title on the line against Junior Dos Santos. This was supposed to be a hallowed, crossover moment for MMA and the mainstream acceptance the sport has always craved. Let’s take a look at the bout and see how things shook out this past weekend. As for the fight itself, it was 64 seconds, so we will get beyond the main event pretty quick here.
My first question was ‘is this the worst case scenario’? The expectation was that a lot of newer fans would be seeing the sport, and 1 minute of actual fighting in a one hour program just seemed disappointing. Remember how much it sucked to get a Mike Tyson fight and have it last 1 round? This had that same feel, that feel of a meal that didn’t leave you full.
Clearly the worst case scenario would have been a boring 25 minutes of shadowboxing and hugging, so kudos to both fighters for not letting that happen. After a feeling out process, Dos Santos landed a big punch behind Velasquez’ ear, and dropped him. After taking a few shots on the ground, Velasquez appears to slump. The ref rightfully steps in to stop it, and Velasquez seems to start reacting again. But it was over that fast.
Hopefully for UFC and the fans, this is the last show that will be only 1 hour on FOX. This will allow for more fights to be aired, and for the production groups to have more promo material and maybe even a highlight video of the fights from earlier in the night. It seemed like they had put all their eggs in one basket and expected a great fight, especially one that was longer.
Here are a few interesting numbers I have seen, however nothing here is 100% since it is early. The total paid gate was $1.1 million, with a little over 10k in attendance. With no PPV, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the UFC is going to lose money on this show, which is unusual. They can handle it in the early going, but no one likes to lose money and this will really hae to be fixed if it is the case.
Another interesting number I’m trying to substantiate – viewers. I saw one preliminary report that stated that the broadcast did not beat the Kimbo Slice versus James Thompson CBS event. MMAJUNKIE is reporting the viewership was very similar, about 4 and a half million people. They say official numbers will be out on Monday.
So overall, the first broadcast on FOX is under their belts. Now the UFC has to learn and improve on this process, there certainly seems to be enough room for improvement.