If you’re looking forward to some free prelim action on TV before UFC 125, you might have to do a bit of channel surfing to find it – or maybe even pull out the old rabbit ears. I don’t know where the fuck you’d plug them into today’s super HD3D1080PEE tele-computers … have you tried sticking it in a power socket?
The UFC has announced it’s partnered up with the ION network, a group of stations I have no knowledge whatsoever of since I’m Canadian. Seriously, it might as well be Inner Mongolia Television to me. But according to FightOpinion, ION is a ‘free-to’air’ station that reaches 100 million people in the US – that’s slightly more than Spike TV and their 99 million.
But ‘free-to-air’ means you don’t need a cable package to see it – a dish pointed at the right satellite or an antennae in the right region will pick it up. That might have been shweet in 1993, but now it’s just a pain in the ass. Most of the 100 million who ‘receive’ the station probably don’t even know it exists, either. According to Wikipedia, “it is the least watched major English language network in the United States, behind MyNetworkTV.”
What a score for the UFC, huh?
Most MMA news sites point to the UFC / Spike TV deal, which expires in 2011, as a possible reason behind the switch. Some even suggests that ION might become the UFC channel that was hotly rumored about earlier this year. I don’t know about that. I don’t know about any of this ION shit. If Dana White and the gang think they can show Spike and Spike’s daddy-org Viacom (who just brought Bellator onto MTV2) who’s the bitch in their relationship, a UFC 125 prelim show on ION ain’t gonna do it. In fact, the ratings are likely to be so weak it could have the exact opposite effect.
I have to hope there’s something more to this deal than meets the eye. Because on the surface it seems kinda dumb. Sure, it’s nice that Zuffa did something so we have prelims to watch, and that’s how they’re selling it. But on a business level, it’s like risking a fuck buddy situation with Keira Knightly so you can bang that chick from Intervention who ” target=”_blank”>huffs cans of air duster.