The UFC's move to broadcasting a handful of cards on Fox has been interesting in its execution at basically all points. From the first show where only one fight that lasted sixty seconds made the air while an outstanding co-main event was stuck on Facebook to good ratings for a fight that was deemed somewhat "boring" by many in the second effort (Davis vs. Evans) to two consecutive shows with good fights but lacking big fights resulting in lower than expected ratings.
The UFC is making a big play at their December Fox effort by putting together some big fights including a lightweight title fight between Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz.
Dana White recently spoke about one of the issues with the Fox deal, production:
Quotes and analysis after the jump...
From the video:
What we're dealing with now is figuring out...the hardest thing we're dealing with now is figuring out production. How many fights can you schedule with the commercial load that you've got and all the other things that you have to do.
We've done a pretty good job of getting this dialed in after that first fight going 60 seconds and now figuring out...as this thing evolves, it's going to be more about fighting.
Fox has a system that they're used to with sports where you come into the big desk and "here we go! We're gonna do this and that!" What people are used to with the UFC is Goldie and Rogan on camera for two seconds "Here's what's happening tonight and blahblahblah" we're ready to fight. Then you end up getting forty fights in in an hour.
I thought that the "big desk" presentation was about showing the UFC in the same style as other "major sports."
What people are used to shouldn't matter that much as the Fox shows are about turning on a broader group of people, not just offering free fights to the existing fans.
Four fights per Fox card is probably appropriate, there is only so much time that is going to be given for a fight event. The issue hasn't been with anything other than fight quality. While you're trying to bring in new fans or as many casuals as possible, you have to still put on fights that are both good in quality and that have recognizable stars (and a title doesn't hurt either).
That's why the December show is being put together so well. It has the allure of a title fight, a few well known fighters in B.J. Penn and Mauricio Rua and some future stars that you'll expose to a wider audience. If this show doesn't draw well, then there's some very big issues that will need to be figured out.