Everyone was pretty curious about how the UFC’s first event on FOX was gonna look. Questions were asked, nervous answers from UFC brass were delivered, and many a run through was done by production staff leading up to the show. In the end, I’d say things went pretty well. You’d need to get down to nitpicking to find fault with the presentation, so I’d label that part of things a success.
‘FOX Sports’ was the vibe for the show, with their football fanfare music playing throughout the broadcast. We went from our standard Goldberg / Rogan setup to a dual setup where we got passed back and forth between Ye Olde Sportsdesk and the commentary team. Generic FOX Sportsdude Curt Menefee’s souless blah blah blah drove things along well enough, and Dana White and Brock Lesnar added some stiff but passable analysis to get us through things.
Once things switched over to fight time, it was more or less a return to the standard way the UFC runs things. Even though the fight went just over a minute, there were no hiccups in how the show felt … some commercial breaks and a return back to the sportsdesk killed the last 15 minutes and with that the first UFC on FOX was in the bag.
The major complaint coming out of the event was how the fight went. After 30 minutes of hype and build-up, Cain Velasquez went down in the first exchange to a glancing blow off his temple. It wasn’t one of those famous knockdowns that look like a guy just ate a shotgun blast to the head. Cain just lost his balance, rolled, then ate a few more shots before Big John stepped in to stop things. Several of the casual people around me checking out the fight looked around in confusion. “So … was that it?”
In the end, the fight went down like many of my sexual encounters. Lots of hype and build-up … then 65 seconds of action culminating in a not so orgasmic finish. After all the sizzle, there was barely a bite of steak for potential MMA fans to enjoy.
Let this be a lesson to FOX: more MMA is always better than less. The UFC had set things up so that Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida was ready on the sidelines in case what happened on Saturday night happened. Unfortunately, the decision was made to focus on the heavyweight championship fight and only the heavyweight championship fight. It was a decision that probably made sense at the time … not so much in retrospect. Big fights might get people to tune in, but it’s often the guys on the undercard making sure fans leave an event feeling like they got enough fights to fix them until next time.