The UFC let Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos fight for a UFC belt on Fox. Should they do it again after UFC on Fox 5?
Let's cut to the chase here: the UFC benefits from signing more title fights to headline FOX cards.
Some may ask why, citing the over-saturation of UFC fights and the lack of truly "stacked" cards. However, an open set of eyes and a clear, open mind will help fans understand just how beneficial the champions will prove to the success of the UFC's success on "Big Fox", especially considering how the past three Fox cards played out without the presence of a reigning champion on the card.
First off, consider the benefits of a title fight on free TV from the get-go.
Normally, fans must shell out $50 or $60 to see a champion compete, because the champion historically provides the fight that (most) fans would pay to watch. Also, remember how fans went nuts when the UFC announced that they aimed to give the crowd Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos last November? Of course, heavyweights always attract heads anyway, but rarely do fans and pundits hear of them bringing title fights to a stacked "free TV" card.
Secondly, consider the favors done by all involved. Fox gives the UFC its national exposure, the UFC gives their fans a reason to want to buy a ticket to the show, the champions and challengers get a much larger stage than that which some still think pay-per-view provides, and with fans at home getting access to an event without having to pay for it, a win-win situation emerges.
Now, why should anyone drag pay-per-view into this discussion? Reasons vary, but we must do so because for a myriad of reasons, fans find themselves less motivated to actually pay their cable providers for UFC events that went from awesome to atrocious. Meanwhile the free cards continue to provide more of the fights that their following would willingly pay for.
After UFC on Fox 5 happens this December, should more title fights hit Fox?
To put it in some perspective, look at the nominees for the 2012 Fight of The Year. Unsurprisingly, two of 2011's best fights finally get their nods, but of the UFC's contributions to that category, three nominees came from cards that fans either saw on free TV or watched online. Only Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua happened on pay-per-view.
When free fights deliver "Fight of The Year" performances and force Fighters Only to fill out their "Fight of The Year" category for 2012 with two of 2011's best fights, that speaks volumes about what can and likely will come about if the UFC trusts their champions to take center stage for their Fox showcases. We know they do because Benson Henderson gets to lay his UFC lightweight strap on the line against Nate Diaz on Dec. 8 in Seattle for UFC on Fox 5.
All benefits and potential pluses considered, perhaps more cards like UFC on Fox 5 should happen in the future,especially if the promotion aims to feature their champions on a national level. After all, it seems clear that it will aid in the company's growth financially in the long run, but as much as the truth hurts, the truth is that pay-per-view will no longer be enough if the UFC wishes to hit that mainstream status it keeps talking about.