UFC president Dana White announced at a press conference today that the deal to broadcast on Fox television network is set in stone.
And for the maiden broadcast, Dana picked the UFC heavyweight title fight between current champion Cain Velasquez and Junior “Cigano” dos Santos as the main event.
The bout is scheduled for November 12 at Anaheim, California’s Honda Center.
The Fox-debut show will last one hour and only the title dispute will be broadcast.
White explained the different format, similar to boxing events: “We need to educate millions of new television viewers who will be coming into contact with MMA and the UFC for the first time.”
The Fox executives also appeared at the presser, guaranteeing that the UFC will be given the importance of and promoted as much as other major sporting events, like American football and baseball: “We want to promote and organize this UFC show in Superbowl style, with parties in the parking lots and all the Hollywood celebrities.”
Asked whether he will be handing the Anaheim event over for Fox to organize, Dana replied quickly: “We want the Fox way of doing events. They’re not the biggest television network in the USA for nothing. They’re the biggest because they know what they’re doing. This Fox deal was my dream.”
Still on the boost the sport being broadcast on network television will provide, Dana was forthright: “When I hear the UFC is already mainstream, I say we aren’t yet. We’re mainstream when you stop anybody in any city of the United States and ask them what the UFC is and they answer, like when they’re asked about the NFL or the NBA. For that to happen, we need to do a lot more now than we’ve done over the last ten years.”
On the fight between the champion and the Brazilian challenger itself, Dana said he expects a sensational battle: “We didn’t need to think much to pick this fight. Have you ever seen a boring fight from these two? I think Cain will try and take Junior to the ground, something no one has been able to do yet. Cigano is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the Nogueira brother but has never been to the ground in a fight. We’ll see what happens. Everyone’s excited. Since I announced the fight, Junior’s manager has sent me 57 text messages!”
The UFC making it to network television in the USA is another step in the fight between MMA and boxing, and Dana also addressed the date picked for the show – the very day of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight: “I think it’ll be good for us, since to watch the UFC in November you won’t have to pay 65 dollars. It’ll be free!”
Dana didn’t reveal how the November 12 event will be broadcast in Brazil, but did guarantee that audiences around the world will be catered to. On UFC Rio, Dana again was upbeat about the smashing success the event saw in the country: “Globo is the Fox of Brazil and for the first time in history Rede TV managed to beat Globo’s audience, and that was because of the UFC, which is extremely important to us,” said the top brass in closing.