Dissecting the UFC on Fox 1

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Marketing, PR, UFC

I’d like to blame the ol’ 9-5 for my recent lapse in posts, but to be honest I took a little “me time” and went on some trips to Austin, TX and W. Palm Beach.  The time off was good and definitely gave the energy to start writing again. If you’ve read about my Austin adventures before, sadly – I did not catch the Penn-Diaz fight at Club Apple.

In fact, I won’t be doing a whirlwind – here’s what I missed post, I’ll just get to the heart of the big item on everyone’s radar: the UFC is now on Fox.  This past weekend we got a glimpse of what life will be like now that MMA is part of the Fox Sports family.

Junior Dos Santos fulfilled my prediction and KO’d the previously undefeated phenom Cain Valesquez. I could write several posts on the significance of this alone, but instead the marketing guy in me is going to just breakdown the presentation of the Fox event.  Let’s look at the good and the bad.

What worked:

  • The UFC montage: No Gladiator picking up sand to start the show, the UFC went a little different for their first network event.  UFC on Fox took place 18 years after the first UFC tournament , and provided a good overview of the growth of the sport. Given the nature of the 101 lessons new fans will need, they will have to keep this for their first few events. (Even if there is no significant tie to the date of the show)
  • The Opening Panel: Sticking to its word, Fox had an opening panel before the event.  This is great – and should be repeated. However, my recommendation is to create one Fox anchor who is not tied to any other sport (*cough, Not Joe Buck! Cough! *) That anchor could then speak with current and former fighters about the card and their predictions.
  • Keeping Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan:  I was very happy to see that the voices of the Octagon remained ringside. (Again, no Joe Buck.)  If  they add in a different fighter for some color commentary each event – we’ll be gold.  I’m hoping that Frank Mir’s punishment is over and he can return to the broadcast table. His mic skills for the WEC are still some of my favorite based on how well he can breakdown a fight for those that may not know the intricacies of every move.

What needs to go:

  • Dana white as part of the opening panel: If you read this blog, you know I love and respect Dana White – as a business person and as an MMA advocate.  However, you don’t see the NFL or MLB commissioners on the Fox panels.  I’m hoping this was just for the first broadcast as part of the overall UFC anniversary.  If White can step back and give some of the verbal control to announcers and fighters he can focus on other matters during the event.
  • The use of the NFL on Fox music: Hearing the music went right up my backside everytime. This is MMA, not football.  Give the sport its own identity. I get that Fox may not want to port over the theme music from the UFC PPVs, but there needs to be something original here.
  • Only having one fight: MMA is a great sport and any fight can end in seconds – not minutes, not rounds – seconds.  When you have two heavyweights slugging it out for the biggest prize in the organization – you have to expect a quick end.  As this event was to give new fans a “taste” of the UFC – they may walk away with a bitter bite feeling they were “robbed” by how fast the event was over.  Replaying some of the undercards – specifically Henderson-Guida – would have made up for this.  For hardcore fans who would bark and say they saw those fights already on Facebook – well, the remote gives you freedom with one click.

Overall, a great event and I look forward to seeing what unfolds for the UFC and Fox in 2012.

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Comments
  1. I agree with your points on the faults – that music was painful and didn’t help craft brand identity. I wish they had two fights too but I’m glad it was quick and bloodless. Imagine how horrific as BJ Penn bathing in Stevenson’s blood type fight would have looked. Or, a flop post fight tirade like vintage Brock “I’ll have a cuuurs lite because Budwesier ain’t paying me and I might even get on top my wife.” The debut was too short but it left room to improve without being a total flop like the Strikeforce Brawl.

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