While the American fans' experience of UFC on Fox last night featured 1 minute of fighting sandwiched between 59 minutes of promotional fluff and basic analysis, it seems the international broadcast had a lot more meat to it. Just from the feedback from fans at Bloody Elbow and from watching myself in the UK via Premier Sports, our hour of television was mostly packed with combative action.
Based on the collective experience of fans watching in the UK, Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Sweden, we opened with Jon Anik playing host, welcoming us to the broadcast and boldly claiming the UFC Heavyweight title as the most prestigious in all of combat sports; the initial mood was already celebratory. A quick pass-over to Rogan and Goldie before we were treated to an immediate replay of Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida to get things going. I thought this was a smart move and wondered if Fox had changed their minds and wanted to wait and see how this fight turned out before giving the go-ahead for its inclusion on the main broadcast. That at the least would have made sense, but it would appear American fans missed out unless they caught it online.
There were commercial breaks between rounds but that was to be expected, and because the fight was a replay they didn't cut into the beginning of the second or third.
Jon Anik comes back on and reaffirms what most should now be feeling: what a great way to get things going with this Fight of the Night performance. Back to Rogan and The Goldster and the introduction of the main event fighters Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, their entrance, the fight and the post fight interviews, all without a commercial break. I imagine this would be the same as the Fox broadcast.
With the wild energy of Guida vs Henderson as a lead-in followed by two emphatic (T)KO stoppages, the international fans were more than satisfied with the portion of MMA they got in the comfort of their living room. Jon Anik remains a pro and helped make the presentation feel like a legitimate sporting event and a positive experience. We also benefited from not having to listen to Dana White be a Buzz Kill in his appearance on the U.S. post-fight show.
It's just a shame American fans were shortchanged, even if it was free to watch on Television. Hopefully they can better service its audience when the UFC 'officially' starts working with Fox next year.