Dana White wants you to save the date: Saturday, August 17th. On that day, he and seven-and-a-half consecutive hours of UFC action are coming your way to help launch the brand spanking new Fox Sports 1 Network.
Yep, you heard me right.
Not Fox Sports West. Or Fox Sports Northeast. Or Fox Sports Due East. We’re talking the Fox Sports 1 Network, here, people (sorry former fans of the SPEED Network)!
So say good bye to Fuel TV and waking up after a mid-afternoon airings of “Iron Man 2” on FX to wait for some preliminary UFC action. It also means we all better call our local cable provider and ask them where we can find this tragically named sports network (is the Spanish version of this new network Fox Sports Juan?).
Dana White, doing his part to help the FOX conglomerate beat the living crap out of the ABC/ESPN synergy machine, has promised that the Aug. 17th fights will be “the strongest fight card the company has ever put on television.” So take that Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Rashad Evans, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson, BJ Penn, Jim Miller, Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck, Demetrious Johnson, and Rampage Jackson (just to name a few).
So far, only a match between Thiago Alves vs. Matt Brown has been announced for the fight night that will take place from the Boston T.D. Garden. But that doesn’t mean Chael Sonnen isn’t doing his part to bring some star power to the proceedings.
And if we’ve learned one thing from Dana White, it’s that if the guy says it’s gonna be the biggest card ever presented on live TV… then he’s gonna throw moderate amounts of money at fighters to put on a set of fights that will definitely (maybe) last longer than a minute and four seconds!
Here’s the best part: The company is getting away from their habit of adding insignificant numbers to the end of their television event names (“Wait, was this UFC on FOX 5? Or is it UFC 157, I’m confused!”).
There will be no Fox Sports 1:1. Instead, pre cards will be called FOX UFC Saturday Prelims and FOX UFC Saturday (which still makes it sound like they’re appearing on the FOX Broadcast Network, but I’ll take the dropped numbers as a minor victory here). There's also still the question of how they brand cards that don't take place on a Saturday, but hell even NBC tells you to watch Sunday Night Football on an occasional Thursday or Saturday night once and again, so I suppose we'll get there when we get there.
Now even if you’re annoyed with the thought of having to find a new network, you better get used to it. That is, if you want any part of the Ronda Rousey/Cat Ziagano Ultimate Fighter series this fall (Wednesdays at 10pm).
But that’s not all! The UFC is also kicking in a set of live fights to air in prime time on August 28th and September 4th, just to try and sweeten the deal. The Sept. 4th date is especially important as that card will lead into the 18th season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter.
AND, because you were all wondering what this move from FOX scripted Broadcast affiliates might mean for UFC Tonight, don’t fret. Your favorite show (that you catch only via clips on YouTube) will now be expanded to an hour format (and will remain a weekly fixture). Which is great news for Kenny Florian's hair stylist and Chael Sonnen’s fireside chats!
I know that was a lot of information to sift through, but that’s why I’m here. To read through all the press releases you don’t want to read in the first place. And if you somehow fall out of love with the UFC by then, then don’t worry you can get excited about Regis Philbin’s new Fox Sports 1 chat show.
Yep. This network knows how to pull out all the stops.
Until next time, fight fans.