As the UFC has been expanding throughout the world, it has also been expanding the coverage of its events, giving fans more fights to watch without increasing the overall number of events. From the Pay Per Views and free events of both Spike TV and Versus the UFC easily televised 20 plus events a year.
The UFC already tapes the complete fight cards for possible future DVD release and / or to fill in during the PPV, should bouts ends quickly. Starting last year (2010) the UFC introduced televised prelim fights on Spike TV that would lead up to the nights PPV main card. This was a great way to promote the event and increase viewership of the PPV by showing two free fights to hype the night, making fans want more.
The UFC then upped the ante at the start of 2011 putting three preliminary bouts on the ION Network leading up to UFC 125. The move brought about speculation of a possible UFC network and while that might happen at some point, the UFC just wanted to show more fights so they turned to ION. The UFC now had both Spike TV and the ION Network at their disposal to broadcast free preliminary fights.
Just weeks after the UFC appeared on ION they announced that two fights would stream live on Facebook, prior to the Fight for the Troops card airing free on Spike TV. Now fans are getting free fights on top of free fights, just for “liking” the UFC on their Facebook page. The success promoted Dana White to say that the fights streaming live on Facebook where “here to stay!”
The coup de grace arrived at last week’s UFC 127 as the UFC pulled out all the stops giving the fans two prelim fights on Facebook and three prelim fights on the ION network, leading into the PPV. When it was all said and done, the UFC televised 11 of the 12 UFC 127 bouts between three different forms of viewing, not bad for the $45/$55 price tag.
Let’s also not forget the Versus Network, who is airing tonight’s UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann fight card, which by the way has two prelim fights steaming live on Facebook before things kick off on Versus.
The UFC continues to give its fans more televised Mixed Martial Arts action than any other promotion in the world…. Versus, Spike, and ION and Facebook! Oh, My!