Since their partnership with Fox, the UFC has opened the gates and let the fights pour forth, straight onto “free TV.”
But at the same time, there seems to be something missing, and it is clear what it is: PPV-quality cards.
For some, this is totally expected. They see Fox much the same way they saw Spike TV, and then the question becomes “why should the UFC give away a PPV-quality card?”
The answer is simple: because Fox is the key to a much bigger kingdom.
Imagine what the audience response would have been like if the UFC had put the Dan Henderson vs. Shogun card on Fox. They would have eaten it up; swallowing the hook so deep they’d never get it out.
When you get such a big audience, then you should be looking to make an equally big impression. While previous Fox cards have been good, they could be so much better.
Of course, there is no crystal ball available that allows the company to know for sure if a PPV card is going to be great; after all, UFC 33 looked good on paper, but ended up being a disaster.
Still, this whole new relationship with Fox is seeing both sides take risks in order to help the sport explode to the levels they clearly believe in. If you’re going to take risks, then putting a PPV-quality card on Fox is the smart risk to take.
And they need to be taking that risk once every three months.
If the company is really going to put themselves out there for mass consumption, then they really need to go all out, once per quarter. If the sport has proven anything, it’s that it makes an impression, one way or the other.
And if you’re going to make an impression, it might as well be a big one.
Consider for a moment UFC 150, this coming August. You have a rematch between Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title, which more probably than not is going to be a good fight.
You also have Jake Shields, Yushin Okami, Luiz Cane and Ed Herman, and there are sure to be other big-name fighters rounding out the main card as well.
This would be a great card to put on Fox; it has a title bout in a division known for action, and everyone loves anniversaries.
Of course, there are also arguments against this, mainly coming from the crowd that believes you shouldn’t give something away for free when people are willing to pay big money for it.
That is all well and good, except I don’t think putting forth PPV-quality cards on Fox is “giving away” anything.
I look at it as making an investment; showing the people that should they spend their time on a Fox channel, this is what they will receive.
And should that PPV-quality card be as good as UFC 100, or UFC 139: Henderson vs. Shogun, or UFC 116, then many more people are going to get very comfortable with the notion of spending more time with the sport.