UFC on FOX Was A Success, But ESPN Can Take MMA To Next Level
It’s arduous to imagine the UFC’s run with FOX is nearly completed, over seven years after it began. Again in 2011, the UFC signed a cope with FOX that was anticipated to assist take the game of combined martial arts to the following degree. The promotion gave FOX an enormous combat proper out of the gates when Cain Velasquez battled Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title again in November 2011.
Seven years later, the promotion will maintain its ultimate occasion on FOX this Saturday evening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the 31st occasion general held on massive FOX. That’s along with the entire Battle Nights, preliminary playing cards, Final Fighters, shoulder programming and different broadcasts the UFC held on FOX. It’s been an excellent journey for the previous seven years, and might solely be thought-about a hit when you think about the partnership helped convey MMA to an even bigger viewers in addition to arrange the UFC for this new cope with ESPN.
But the UFC’s cope with FOX is now over, and now it’s time for the ESPN period to start out. As profitable because the FOX period was, the UFC and the game of MMA want this transfer to ESPN to actually assist take the game to the following degree. MMA little doubt grew due to the FOX deal, however although I’d take into account it a hit, the game nonetheless isn’t on the identical degree because the “big four” in North America. MMA might by no means get to the purpose the place it’s on the identical degree as soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey (in addition to soccer) however it could actually solely go up from right here. Have a look at the FOX numbers and take into account baseline for what the UFC can accomplish on ESPN. The UFC and ESPN can each study from the successes and failures of the FOX years, and placing all the pieces collectively may also help take the game to new heights.
For the UFC, the simplest factor the promotion can do is simply guide the largest and greatest fights attainable for its ESPN playing cards as a result of that’s probably the most controllable route the UFC can take to having success on its new community. It’s already beginning off that manner, with the UFC including a flyweight title combat between Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw to its first card this January in Brooklyn, New York, to not point out high-profile fighters Donald Cerrone, Greg Hardy and Rachael Ostovich on the identical card.
The UFC can’t management how good the fights grow to be, however they’ll put themselves in the perfect place to succeed by reserving high-profile, vital fights that includes standard fighters. There have been occasions that FOX playing cards weren’t as stacked, and that’s as a result of the UFC was so adamant about doing a brand new card each weekend. Hopefully with the ESPN deal in tow now, the UFC will begin to understand having extra stacked playing cards and fewer general is the best solution to run its enterprise. The higher the fights, the extra followers will wish to tune in and watch. It simply is smart.
I assumed that MMA would explode into an enormous mainstream sport due to the UFC on FOX deal. I do know lots of different reporters and followers thought the identical factor. Seven years later and which may not essentially be the case, however the sport is actually on the best observe to blowing up. We’ve come a good distance for the reason that darkish ages of the game when it was thought-about human cockfighting. Now, MMA is on ESPN, the house of a number of the different greatest sports activities leagues on the earth.
FOX tried its greatest with the UFC and for probably the most half it was a hit, however I nonetheless really feel like there’s a lot untapped potential with the UFC and ESPN may also help unlock it. It was an excellent seven-year run by the UFC and FOX that helped develop the game, and there are some unbelievable recollections to remove from the final seven years, however to take the game to the following degree the UFC actually wanted this cope with ESPN. MMA is an incredible sport however it’s nonetheless comparatively new and in some ways the tip of the FOX deal was the tip of its infancy. Now, the ESPN deal will assist information MMA and UFC via its adolescence, and in seven years time we’ll look again and see how issues have gone, simply as we’re doing proper now.