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ROUNDTABLE: What types of realistic fights for the UFC will maximize viewership on Fox?
May 11, 2012 - 3:35:26 PM
ROUNDTABLE: What types of realistic fights for the UFC will maximize viewership on Fox?
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What types of fights should the UFC be looking to book in order to maximize viewership on Fox? Are there any particular matchups that spring to mind?

RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

The flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight divisions (non-BJ Penn category) have sold a grand total of zero PPVs combined. If it's me, two or three Fox shows will feature a title fight from one of the lighter weight classes, with no single title being on free TV more than once per year. Mind you, Joseph Benavidez versus Ian McCall doesn't have the cachet of, say, THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD, but it also has more stroke than Jim "Doesn't Have 'IT'" Miller, either.

With a title fight providing credibility, load the rest of any given Fox card with a #1 contender fight in one of the heavier divisions, a slugger vs. slugger matchup (read, Lavar Johnson vs. Pat Barry) and an intriguing fight between great unknown fighters which will showcase some of the beauty of the sport to the new fanbase (read, Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher).

But yeah, some guy from Cuba and Australia who has never fought for the UFC in a Fox main event against a guy who got clowned by Chael Sonnen, that don't make no sense, homes.


FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

The types of fights that the UFC should book for the Fox shows are the ones involving big names, but that wouldn't sell a ton of pay-per-views. I'm not saying stack the card with these fights, but you've got to have some names on them. Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin III is a perfect example of this. Neither guy is especially close to a title shot, but they're both names that most people know. I wouldn't make that the main event, but it could serve as a solid co-main event or even the third fight. Booking a fight like this, and having it underneath lesser-known names, sends the message that the guys in the main event are a bigger deal. You give rub to them.

It's also important to put fights on the card that have the highest likelihood of being exciting fights. That means no lay-and-pray guys or guys who aren't known to bring it. You want to maximize the excitement. That said, you would want to limit any heavyweight match-ups to 1 per event at most. Heavyweight fights are either short and exciting in that barroom brawl way, or they're boring as hell. Very few heavyweights have the endurance to go more than one round, and a lot of them struggle with that.


BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

To really maximize viewership on Fox they need another title fight. Anderson Silva or Jon Jones would both bring potentially huge numbers compared to the last two cards they've aired. The #1 contender bout on Free TV is cool but to replicate those huge numbers from the first run they need to put a monstrous star in there with a legitimate threat. Even Edgar and Henderson would draw better numbers.


ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

I wouldn't try to go with match-ups per se, but seeing how the fights so far in the lighter weight divisions have been the most exciting, I would go with more fights like Nate Diaz and Jim Miller than say anything above middle-weight. Unless its a true dream scenario match-up, stick with the lower weight guys. This helps interest for UFC fighters not named (or in the division) Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, or Junior dos Santos in different divisions. This helps the UFC build up more names to help grow their brand even more.


DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR

A mixture of fights and fighters rotating through the various weight classes makes perfect sense. It's unlikely the very casual fan had ever heard of Nate Diaz before Saturday, but after his fine performance they do now. It's inevitable he'll be headlining a PPV in his next fight and he's just sold a few more subscriptions to the casual fan wanting to see him again. Every Fox card doesn't have to be stacked with well known fighters, it's more the fighter styles of those chosen that counts most. Who wants to see a wrestler vs. wrestler decision bore as a main event. Avoid those types of fights at all cost if you want to entice the casual viewer.

Bottom line, the main event fights should be those that are guaranteed to end in excitement with a likely finish. Brian Stann vs. Hector Lombard is a superb choice for the next FOX card. Stann is a hero and a superstar in the making who just needs the increased exposure to make that happen. Lombard is a champion (albeit Bellator) who's undefeated in five years. They both love violence and that fight isn't likely to end in a decision. It's the perfect choice, and the absolute marker that should be used, when choosing any future main event.


JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

UFC on Fox 3 was exactly the kind of card the UFC needs to put on to draw big numbers on network television, with the exception of the main event. There was enough star power and action on the last Fox card to keep people entertained and to give people who watched a good impression of the sport. That being said, the main event wasn't enough of a reason for people to tune in, especially with so much going on last weekend.

The UFC can't avoid congested weekends forever, that's the way things work. But big names are essential for drawing in the casual fan on any weekend. The whole point of these Fox cards is to get as many viewers as they can and expose them to mixed martial arts in the hopes that they like what they see and eventually decide to support the product with their pay-per-view dollars. If the UFC doesn't cast out a big enough net to get pick up fans, the whole thing is pointless.

I think the UFC figured that since the first two events did so well that they had established a fan base on Fox and could start putting on fun fights (and less expensive fights) with lesser names. Obviously they aren't at that point yet, and they need to take note of that.


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