Grading the First Three UFC on FOX Events
UFC on FOX 3 is now in the books and the UFC brand continues to grow with every appearance on the network television station.
The most recent event featured an excellent fight card with a main event between lightweights Nate Diaz and Jim Miller. While it did not contain the star power that the previous two events did, many are already saying that UFC on FOX 3 might have been the most exciting of the bunch so far.
But are exciting fights alone enough to make these cards a success?
Let's delve deeper as we grade each of the first three UFC on FOX events.
UFC on FOX 1
Date: Nov. 12, 2011
Average U.S. viewers: 5.7 Million
Pre-fight hype: A+
Star Power: B+
Fight Quality: C+
FINAL GRADE: B
UFC on FOX was hyped to be the first "Super Bowl" of mixed martial arts. The single-fight main card featured the heavyweight championship bout between challenger Junior dos Santos and undefeated champion Cain Velasquez.
It truly was a red-carpet affair as the UFC and FOX teamed up to create a spectacle rarely seen in professional sports and one that had never even come close to being matched previously in the United States.
The only problem with this event is that after all that pomp and circumstance, the fight itself lasted just 64 seconds, with dos Santos knocking out Velasquez to win the title. The quick knockout excited many, but disappointed even more as casual fans hoped to see much more action.
All things considered, it was a successful debut for the promotion on the national stage, but it missed the opportunity to be truly epic when the main event failed to live up to some fans' expectations.
UFC on FOX 2
Date: Jan. 28, 2012
Average U.S. viewers: 4.7 Million
Pre-fight hype: B-
Star Power: B+
Fight Quality: C+
FINAL GRADE: B-
After nearly a year of being touted as the "No. 1 contender" by the UFC and various issues interfering with his opportunity to cash in on that status, Rashad Evans returned and battled undefeated up-and-comer Phil Davis to re-solidify himself as the top contender at 205 pounds.
Evans did just that, defeating Davis in a one-sided unanimous decision, and earning himself an eventual title shot at Jon Jones at UFC 145.
Also on the fight card was the middleweight contenders' bout between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping as well as another middleweight bout between Demian Maia and Chris Weidman.
The event itself came close to matching the viewership of the first UFC on FOX event, but the fights themselves fell flat to many fans as all three of the main card bouts went to a decision.
After 55 minutes of fights without a finish, fans were a bit exhausted despite seeing some interesting back-and-forth battles in the Sonnen-Bisping and Weidman-Maia contests.
UFC on FOX 3
Date: May 5, 2012
Average U.S. viewers: 2.25 Million
Pre-fight hype: C
Star Power: C+
Fight Quality: A
FINAL GRADE: C+
Some questioned the UFC's decision to book relatively unknown fighters Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz in the main event of a show that would air on network television and as it turns out, they may have been right...at least by some standards.
Only an estimated 2.25 million viewers watched the event from the United States—less than half of what UFC on FOX 2 drew in and over 3 million less viewers than watched UFC on FOX 1.
It certainly didn't help that the event was going up against other large sporting events on the same night including various Major League Baseball games, The Kentucky Derby and a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. boxing fight.
However, one has to wonder whether the UFC made the right decision to not stack the event with at least one real "big name" fighter in the main event.
Diaz and Miller delivered on a highly entertaining fight as Diaz became the first man ever to finish Miller in a mixed martial arts bout when he submitted him late in Round 2. The rest of the fight card was equally as entertaining
Unfortunately, much of the MMA community will never see this event and thus it's hard to evaluate just how successful UFC on FOX 3 really was.
For those who saw it, it was an exceptionally entertaining show which may be in the running for Event of the Year when it's all said and done, but the UFC and FOX may have missed out on a big TV rating due to their decision to let the show rest on the shoulders of two non-household names.