An impenetrable fortresses surrounded by gun-wielding securty guards is how I would describe the FOX Studio in Beverly Hills if I wanted to be overly dramatic and emo. Before entering the facility, I was forced to park my car on the side of the studio while security checked my credentials. That’s really the only resistance I had today for the UFC on FOX press conference. Judging from the directional signs leading up to the FOX Sports studio, the entire event overflowed with some sort monumental primordial ooze of importance. I’ll stop with the superfluous descriptions and cease the use of big words and just go with — ‘It was like, woah!’
Due to my innate paraonia, I arrived two hours early for the UFC on FOX press conference. A group of us waited in the lobby of the FOX studio, curiously looking at the wide-screen tube television that was set up on a white podium. Montell Wiliams was on, advocating the benefits of marijuana. Before we could all unanimously agree how right Montell was, we were whisked away by someone at FOX Sports. It’s important to note that every female staff member in the FOX studio was astonishingly attractive and dressed in either a moderately short skirt or a very tight skirt. There was no in between. Granted the event was held in Beverly Hills, but kudos to the hiring director over at FOX. You know how to appeal to my sexually deprived reality, sir (and I’m absolutely certain that it is a ‘sir’).
After navigating through a few corridors, our jaws simultaneously dropped at the ‘UFC on FOX’ set that was constructed for the press event. If you follow MiddleEasy on Twitter, I’m sure that you saw exactly what I saw nearly a half-hour before the scheduled press event. We set up our stuff, grabbed some grub from the lunch table and essentially waited for everyone else to show up. I apologize for not live-tweeting throughout the presser. The phone reception was severely handicapped in the studio and I positioned myself in the only spot that provided a glimmer of a bar on my phone. The familiar media faces started to roll in, and eventually Dana White and friends made it to the set. The panel consisted of Dave Hill, described as the ‘King of FOX’, Lorenzo Fertitta, Eric Shanks (COO of FOX Sports), John Landgraf (President of FX) and Dana White. Rashad Evans, GSP, Frankie Edgar and Chuck Liddell chilled on a few sofas on the side of the stage to apparently act as security incase one of these pencil-neck media geeks decided to act up. It’s important to note that minutes before the start of the presser, the make-up lady gently blotched Dana White’s head with some brush/powder combo and Dana appeared to find the entire thing hilarious. Joe Rogan also gave me an eye-wink before the event. Don’t worry Joe, I understand it was only a subtle sign of recognition and no homosexual undertones were implied. It was the equivalent of an optical fist-bump.
The lights went off and a short UFC on FOX promo was shown on the monitors for all of the media to view. Judging from the promo, it seemed like FOX was marketing UFC as a sport, and not as an MMA organization. I also noticed a healthy use of Jake Shields in the promotional video. The 209 will be proud.
Lights were switched on, Joe Rogan got on the microphone and introduced the historic panel. I’m sure you probably witnessed it, but the camera man mixed Frankie Edgar and Georges St. Pierre. Everyone laughed and the president of FOX, David Hill, mentioned this is one event in which you definitely don’t want to piss off the panel. Here are the notes that I managed to take throughout the presser.
- Dave Hill said boxing to his generation is the equivilant of MMA to our generation.
- Dave Hill also said the UFC has created the ultimate 3D experience, implying that MMA is multi-dimensional. Stated that boxing is one-dimensional.
- Hill mentioned that he has been pitched on the concept for ten years and has been debating it for that long. Needless to say it’s been a while in the making.
- There will be four UFC fights a year on FOX.
- There will also be thirty-two fights a year on FX (most of these will from TUF).
- Two seasons of TUF will air every year.
- Eric Shanks firmly said that FOX will run Friday nights with LIVE UFC events.
- Fuel TV will have a lot of post-fight and pre-fight interviews from network and PPV fights.
- Eric Shanks and Dave Hill knew from dealing with ZUFFA on DirecTV, they were ‘game’ for the deal.
- Huge mention that FOX is the ‘big event’ network and the UFC puts on big events.
- Dana White said this is the biggest event in UFC history.
- When Dana White and the Fertitta brothers purchased UFC back in 2001, their goal was to get on FOX.
- Dana said it was only right for UFC to be on the same network with NFL, NHL and Nascar.
- FX believes with the UFC on board, they can stand toe-to-toe with anyone network in their competitive set.
- FX ratings have been steadily going up.
- Lorenzo Fertitta mentioned that FX was his favorite entertainment channel.
- With TUF on FX, the station will provide thirty-two weeks of UFC fights.
- UFC will be producing the events, not FOX. Dave Hill feels completely comfortable with ZUFFA’s level of production.
- The first FOX event will be held on November 12th at 9pm EST in Anaheim, California. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir III is heavily rumored.
- The FOX/UFC deal is for seven years.
- Fuel TV being somewhat rebranded is still in discussion. Dana White said he would work with Fuel TV to build it like they did with Spike TV.
- FOX Deportes will also play a role in this deal to some extent.
- FOX already has a slew of advertisers for UFC. Dave Hill acknowldged that some companies placed UFC on a ‘no buy’ policy which is essentially a black list for advertisers. However, Hill mentioned that the number of companies who placed UFC on a ‘do buy’ list far outweighs those that will ‘not buy.’
- Lorenzo said UFC is the greatest way to target young males.
- Six UFC Fight Nights will be on FX a year.
- Four ‘big’ fights will be on FOX per year.
- Everything about UFC’s production will change. No more gladiator intro, folks.
- Don’t expect championship fights to air on FOX.
- Lorenzo Fertitta acknowledged that the UFC had interest in purchasing G4 until they realized that it was too much of a hassle. They got into the business to put on entertaining fights, not create television channels.
- It’s rumored the FOX/UFC deal went for $90,000,000.
- Dana White said the reason MMA is not legalized in New York is due to union issues with Lorenzo Fertitta and The Station Casinos.
- Viewership expectations for UFC on FOX have not been set yet.
- Expect a ton of UFC cross promotion in established FOX shows and events.
- FX wants to get their actors involved in the UFC in some capacity.
- The audio-technician called the fighters ‘wrestlers’ before the press conference.
- Dana’s trademarked phrase ‘Do you want to be a [expletive] fighter?’ was heavily used in the FX/TUF promo. We’re talking about at least seven times.
- The season will start with a two-hour live premiere
- The Ultimate Fighter fights will be aired live.
- TUF will move to FX.
- Dana White mentioned that the new TUF format will be something called ‘Jive Live’ essentially meaning that the product we see will be filmed just days before and edited literally in the same week it’s scheduled to broadcast. TUF will no longer be ‘in the can.’
- Thirty-two fighters, in ‘all-or-nothing’ fights.
- The training camps for coaches will also be live and it will ‘line right up’ to the event.
- TUF will be shot over a thirteen-week period followed by a live fight.
- The audience will vote who they want to see fight in TUF.
- The results of the audience poll will be shown at the beginning of the episode.
- During the episode of TUF there will be a ‘Live Fight’ countdown on the right side of the screen.
- There will also be live footage of the ‘aftermath’ of the winner and loser of TUF.
- At the end of the episode, a new group of fighters will be displayed for the audience to vote to fight in the next episode.
- Twelve weeks of fights on TUF immediately followed by a live TUF finale show.