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Deja vu

I was wondering whether I should extra feel happy that the UFC was sharing so many UFC 108 fights on their free pre-event Spike show or annoyed that we ended up seeing them all again during the pay per view. It seems pretty doggish to bitch about free fights, but then again there’s no denying it is a bit wonky watching several of the same matches twice. What a strange problem to have. MMA Payout shares their solution:

Fans don’t want to pay money for something they can get for free. And while the UFC may argue that these extra fights during a PPV aren’t a guarantee, it has been throwing in extra fights for so long that these fights are now expected by the fans. Thus, the format of these Prelim shows needs to be tweaked in order to both showcase young UFC talent and protect the value that UFC customers receive when purchasing a PPV.

The best way to maximize the exposure that prospects receive from the prelims might be to utilize shorter countdown-like segments in part of that hour-long prelim show. Don’t just show the fight, but tell the story of these two athletes – or four athletes – and get the consumer interested and familiar with who they are.

If the UFC were to produce two ten minute fight profiles for its feature prelim match-ups, it would fill 20 minutes of the hour-long slot (and capitalize on the near 1 million average viewership that these Prelim shows pull). That would then leave about 40 minutes for fights, PPV promo content, and commercials. Two guaranteed prelim fights with the option of a third in extreme cases would go a long way towards better preserving other under card bouts for PPV filler roles.

On the other hand, the reason things can get wacky with the replays is the show is being put together as it happens. The UFC doesn’t know how long all the fights on the main card are going to go so they can’t assume that every event will allow / require all the prelims to fill the gaps. If they hold out during the free Spike show, then it’s quite likely on nights with a few decisions that we’ll end up seeing less fights.

So in the end, as ‘irritating’ it might seem to be hit with a few repeat fights from time to time, I’d rather have more fights stuffed onto the pre-event Spike show than risk missing out on them entirely. So long as the UFC doesn’t start heavily repeating fights we’ve seen in lieu of fights we haven’t (and even then, it’s acceptable if the fights we miss are uninspired stinkers), I’m happy.