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UFC slums it with the ION network for UFC 125 prelims

If you’re looking forward to some free prelim action on TV before UFC 125, you might have to do a bit of channel surfing to find it – or maybe even pull out the old rabbit ears. I don’t know where the fuck you’d plug them into today’s super HD3D1080PEE tele-computers … have you tried sticking it in a power socket?

The UFC has announced it’s partnered up with the ION network, a group of stations I have no knowledge whatsoever of since I’m Canadian. Seriously, it might as well be Inner Mongolia Television to me. But according to FightOpinion, ION is a ‘free-to’air’ station that reaches 100 million people in the US – that’s slightly more than Spike TV and their 99 million.

But ‘free-to-air’ means you don’t need a cable package to see it – a dish pointed at the right satellite or an antennae in the right region will pick it up. That might have been shweet in 1993, but now it’s just a pain in the ass. Most of the 100 million who ‘receive’ the station probably don’t even know it exists, either. According to Wikipedia, “it is the least watched major English language network in the United States, behind MyNetworkTV.”

What a score for the UFC, huh?

Most MMA news sites point to the UFC / Spike TV deal, which expires in 2011, as a possible reason behind the switch. Some even suggests that ION might become the UFC channel that was hotly rumored about earlier this year. I don’t know about that. I don’t know about any of this ION shit. If Dana White and the gang think they can show Spike and Spike’s daddy-org Viacom (who just brought Bellator onto MTV2) who’s the bitch in their relationship, a UFC 125 prelim show on ION ain’t gonna do it. In fact, the ratings are likely to be so weak it could have the exact opposite effect.

I have to hope there’s something more to this deal than meets the eye. Because on the surface it seems kinda dumb. Sure, it’s nice that Zuffa did something so we have prelims to watch, and that’s how they’re selling it. But on a business level, it’s like risking a fuck buddy situation with Keira Knightly so you can bang that chick from Intervention who ” target=”_blank”>huffs cans of air duster.

  • Blackula Jonez says:

    walking on sunshine girl ftw, I would like to see Subo’s thoughts on this decision from zuffa, I also would like to know how much bellator being on mtv2 has to do with this.

    Zuffa was better off just showing the fights on their website, I wonder if this move will yeild any results at all?

  • agentsmith says:

    I guess you could look at it as a test of the UFC’s drawing power… put the prelims on an obscure channel and see how many people tune in. If they get even a half-decent number of viewers, then the UFC has proven that the eyeballs will follow them pretty much anywhere.

  • agentsmith says:

    My only hope is that Rogers Sportsnet picks up the Canadian broadcast of this, like they have been for the Versus events.

    UPDATE: Allah be praised!

  • fightlinker says:

    Praise Allah indeed!

  • Reverend Clint says:

    i get this channel on my directv and used to watch bodog fights on it at like midnight weeknights. The channel shows marathons of shitty shows and hrs of infomercials. They used to be a jesus channel when it started.

  • MAYORofKALI says:

    Not available in my U-Verse package… I also wonder why not
    Also, main show not in theaters… I’ve enjoyed those (except they don’t air prelims).

  • Komodo says:

    Neva hoid of’em.

  • iamphoenix says:

    Us simple minded folk can’t possibly comprehend this channel ION contraption. We’s too busy making farm potato’s and wrasslin chickens ya hear.