Any doubts about the UFC’s place in the FOX Sports family were squashed this week. Fox Sports announced plans for a new channel that is set to rival ESPN. The UFC will be a big part of those plans which include a live fight card series every Wednesday night.
I have to admit that when I heard about this I groaned. I already thought that the UFC was watered down and this just takes the cake. I was once a huge UFC fan but that interest has dwindled in recent months due to number of cards and the fighters that quite frankly I could care less about. Today’s news will probably only distance myself more from the sport I once loved.
I grew up a big boxing fan in the 1980s. I used to love getting together with my dad and watching the big fights which were generally the heavyweights. I also tried to never miss a big card on HBO featuring Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar, Marvin Hagler, etc. But one thing I rarely did was watch Friday Night Fights. Sure once in a blue moon I’d put it on but over the course of a year that was maybe once or twice. I can’t imagine a different pattern with the UFC.
The news comes at a really strange time in the UFC. The UFC just announced a bunch of fighter cuts, including the number nine ranked welterweight Jon Fitch. UFC president Dana White said there would be more. Now a few weeks later the UFC is talking about beefing up to 52 cards a year. It just doesn’t add up.
I am throwing the number 52 around but between holidays and specials, there may not be quite 52. Nonetheless, there will be a lot of live events throughout 2014 on Wednesday nights. I just can’t imagine how the UFC will spread out all of its fighters while at the same time keeping the cards strong on pay per view. Something has to give at some point.
The good news is that Fuel TV will now be seen in almost as many homes as Spike TV once this venture launches in August. The UFC are also expected to be a major part of the brand. Whether these Wednesday night fights last or not, the UFC as a brand will be stronger than ever. I don’t see a downside there.
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