UFC on FOX: What Does This Mean for UFC 139?

Mike HodgesCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2011

Courtesy of MMAConvert.com
Courtesy of MMAConvert.com

The UFC made an announcement earlier this week that will see Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos headline an upcoming event November 12, which will mark the organization's debut on network television. 

The two heavyweights, who will compete for the UFC heavyweight title, were originally scheduled to meet one week later at UFC 139. However, it is obvious the UFC is looking to appeal to a larger audience and they have used one of this year's most anticipated bouts to generate an impact upon their television debut on FOX.

You can't blame them for going all out, but the idea of promoting only one fight might leave some fans a little unsatisfied in the quality of the event, especially when they have a considerable time slot to showcase more talent.

The decision to move the heavyweight title bout onto free cable was a smart move and will certainly draw great interest from fans for a couple of reasons.

Historically, fans have always been intrigued in a heavyweight bout, as the heavyweight championship has always been seen as the most prestigious title in combat sports.

The other reason is that mixed martial arts have rarely seen two heavyweight fighters be so equal in skill, and it is hardly enjoyable to watch, as one fighter always appears to be over-matched in size or skill. In this situation, both Velasquez and Dos Santos are so evenly-matched that the fight should turn out to be one of the more competitive heavyweight bouts in MMA history. 

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The main event will likely be a financial success for the UFC, but they have now lost a marquee bout for UFC 139. The company's attempt to earn mainstream coverage will likely cost them a substantial amount of money for their following card, considering a heavyweight title bout generally has more implications and draws more attention on pay-per-view.

And despite their impressive records thus far, neither Velasquez or Dos Santos carry personalities that will draw a lot of media coverage like Brock Lesnar, but thankfully their skills and abilities certainly overshadow that aspect. 

So without a marketable main event, what does this mean for UFC 139?

Luckily, the UFC is only two months away from the event and it is still very likely to reschedule a quality matchup that will keep fans interested. Rumored bouts like Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva, Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem and Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua are not out of the question, especially with the reasonable amount of time they would have to prepare, but they don't seem to be realistic options. 

A lightweight bout featuring Clay Guida and Ben Henderson would draw interest, and it is a fight that both fans and fighters have requested for some time, but it is more likely the UFC advertises co-main event fighters Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles into the main event.

Faber is one of the more popular fighters in the bantamweight division and he has proved on previous occasions that he is a credible draw for the organization, as he headlined several cards in the WEC, and most recently, headlining UFC 132 against Dominick Cruz. 

The amount of success the event generates will weigh heavily on the outcome of the main event on November 12.

The UFC has invested a lot of time and money into promoting a marketable fight and gaining interest from mainstream media in order to earn acceptance as a more profitable and credible organization.

UFC president Dana White has made a lot of successful business deals in the past, and he is confident in his decision to promote a quality heavyweight title bout on television, while at the same time, losing a credible amount of value in a card that now appears to average, at best. 

UFC 139 was supposed to be the stage that catapulted either Velasquez's or Dos Santos' career to the next level and use the heavyweight bout to anchor the entire card. 

But should their title bout fail to capitalize and live up to the hype, it will be one of the most disappointing fights in UFC history and leave a bad impression with FOX network executives, which will lead critics to further push MMA out of the spotlight.