The Ultimate Fighter was a reality show that Spike TV launched in 2004. It was UFC’s first venture onto cable television. On the show, fighters competed to crown a champion in two weight divisions; middleweight and light heavyweight. The popularity of The Ultimate Fighter sky-rocketed the popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Before 2004, UFC was generally known for its first incarnation. As a barbaric, no holds barred “human cockfight”. TUF introduced North America viewers to MMA as a sport with rules, weight classes and athletes and showcased the UFC as the premiere mixed martial arts organization.
Fast forward to August 18, 2011. The UFC has grown into one of the most popular sports, breaking pay per view records and making billions of dollars for its owners. On this day, they made the huge announcement that the sport that was once banned from many states, will now air on Fox. For the sport of MMA, it doesn’t get any bigger than network television. The seven year, multimillion dollar deal, marks the first time in more than a decade, Fox has introduced a new sport to their network.
With this announcement, the show that sparked UFC’s meteoric rise in popularity, The Ultimate Fighter, will move to Fox’s cable network FX and now will air live fights as opposed to the pre-taped way it was done on Spike TV. Also announced was the first major card on the network. UFC on FOX 1 will air Saturday, November 12th. It will be a one fight card. The idea is that people will tune in to this fight, and it will end before the Pacquiao vs Marquez fight. The one televised UFC fight however, will be a blockbuster. Undefeated UFC World Heavyweight Champion, Cain Velasquez defends his title against knockout artist and number one contender, Junior Dos Santos.
Both of these fighters are undefeated inside the UFC octagon. Velasquez is a wrestler, Dos Santos is a boxer but both are well rounded and both have knockout power. The edge in striking and jiu jitsu goes to Dos Santos, while wrestling and stamina are the Champion’s stronger points.
So it all begins on Saturday, November 12, 2011. Will UFC grow to be as respected a sport as NFL, MLB and Boxing? Only time will tell, but a deal on the Fox network is a phenomenal step in the right direction.
Here are my picks for UFC on FOX 1
Dos Santos over Velasquez via TKO round 2, Ben Henderson over Clay Guida via Unanimous Decision, Pablo Garza over Dustin Poirier via submission round 2, Kid Yamamoto over Darren Uyenoyma via TKO round 3, Ricardo Lamas over Cub Swanson via TKO round 1, DaMarques Johnson over Clay Harvsion via unanimous decision, Robert Peralta over Mackens Semizer via TKO round 3, Paul Bradley over Mike Pierce via unanimous decision, Matt Lucas over Aaron Rosa via unanimous decision and Alex Careres over Cole Escoedo via TKO round 2.
I’ll be live tweeting throughout the show, follow me www.twitter.com/BIgMarvShow.