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Breaking down the UFC’s first show on FOX

Everyone was pretty curious about how the UFC’s first event on FOX was gonna look. Questions were asked, nervous answers from UFC brass were delivered, and many a run through was done by production staff leading up to the show. In the end, I’d say things went pretty well. You’d need to get down to nitpicking to find fault with the presentation, so I’d label that part of things a success.

‘FOX Sports’ was the vibe for the show, with their football fanfare music playing throughout the broadcast. We went from our standard Goldberg / Rogan setup to a dual setup where we got passed back and forth between Ye Olde Sportsdesk and the commentary team. Generic FOX Sportsdude Curt Menefee’s souless blah blah blah drove things along well enough, and Dana White and Brock Lesnar added some stiff but passable analysis to get us through things.

Once things switched over to fight time, it was more or less a return to the standard way the UFC runs things. Even though the fight went just over a minute, there were no hiccups in how the show felt … some commercial breaks and a return back to the sportsdesk killed the last 15 minutes and with that the first UFC on FOX was in the bag.

The major complaint coming out of the event was how the fight went. After 30 minutes of hype and build-up, Cain Velasquez went down in the first exchange to a glancing blow off his temple. It wasn’t one of those famous knockdowns that look like a guy just ate a shotgun blast to the head. Cain just lost his balance, rolled, then ate a few more shots before Big John stepped in to stop things. Several of the casual people around me checking out the fight looked around in confusion. “So … was that it?”

In the end, the fight went down like many of my sexual encounters. Lots of hype and build-up … then 65 seconds of action culminating in a not so orgasmic finish. After all the sizzle, there was barely a bite of steak for potential MMA fans to enjoy.

Let this be a lesson to FOX: more MMA is always better than less. The UFC had set things up so that Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida was ready on the sidelines in case what happened on Saturday night happened. Unfortunately, the decision was made to focus on the heavyweight championship fight and only the heavyweight championship fight. It was a decision that probably made sense at the time … not so much in retrospect. Big fights might get people to tune in, but it’s often the guys on the undercard making sure fans leave an event feeling like they got enough fights to fix them until next time.

  • iamphoenix

    It was hilarious seeing Curt Menefee up there because he obviously doesn’t know anything about MMA or the UFC. He’s really good at reading teleprompters though.

    My roommate always asks me what’s legal during a fight. Like if elbows to the face are, or a german suplex. Weird shit. He’ll see an elbow to the body and react like it’s the most devastating shot he’s ever seen.

    So glad Benderson one only because it was against bouncy bounce Clay Stupid Hair Guida.

  • Morghen

    Yeah, when I saw that we were gonna get FOUR HOURS of prelims, I was certain that the Fox broadcast was going to have the bad-assiest 30 minutes of action displaying all the cool jitz, and head kicks and, you know, SOME FUCKING MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. Instead, we got a Super Bowl-style presentation that ended when the opening kickoff got returned for a touchdown.

    Uh. It got built up like we were witnessing the pinnacle of the fucking sport that only happens once per generation and nobody mentioned that 2010 had 10 championship fights and another 13 in 2011.

  • TheQuacker

    I have no idea why so many talk about this as an success.

    In my book this was a BIG fail.

    – production was smooth, but that was a given
    – Dana was so stiff it was almost painful to watch, I felt sorry for the poor guy. He looked almost like a ghost a couple of days before the show when AH interviewed him. Hopefully just a lack of sleep and not that this is how he looks like when he tries to “represent the serious UFC sport”
    – the match did not really show the best of the heavyweights. The Champ was hit by a “glancing” shot, went down and took a couple of more shots before he turtled up. Not too impressive first impression to the “casual fan” by the “baddest man on the planet”
    – how the fuck was it possible not to have a plan B, if the match ends in 1 minute? They had an excellent match in Guida-Henderson which in many ways would have saved the night. I hope this was Fox decision… I doubt the UFC could have been that stupid

    But then again it was free, so maybe we are not entitled to whine :)

  • Elfenstein

    Cain, the brown pride, took a nosedive for money .

  • SHORT_BUS

    I think a full card would have pulled much stronger ratings because it would have given them a chance to build an audience. The FOX debut was ok but most (90%) of it was promo and intro material. Casual channel flippers or people who decided to give this “MMA stuff” a try likely tuned in for a bit and passed on by. Even as a hardcore fan I found myself growing impatient. All that behind the scenes stuff is great and it helps connect people emotionally with the fighters buuuuuut that’s what the “Primetime” shows are for. When it’s fight time they need to air the fights and let the product sell itself. With a 1 hour time slot they should have gone with a quick intro and aired Guida – Henderson and then Velasquez – Dos Santos. Just spit on it and stick it in, no need for all the fluffer material that’s already been shown in the weeks leading up to the fight.

    I think the next FOX event will have 4 or 5 fights and it will pull much higher numbers.

  • iamphoenix

    I agree but there saying only 2 fights for the next fox show. Sad face I know

  • CAP

    Yeah maybe three fights at the most but I get the feeling they will come with major draws/stars and good match ups for these FOX events. They will learn from this.

  • SHORT_BUS

    Mike Goldberg was on Ariel’s radio show this morning and he said the next show is supposed to be 2 1/2 hours. He said it’s supposed to happen sometime near super bowl weekend but did not give a specific date.

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