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Steve Cofield

UFC scores big with television coverage

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

In terms of star power or the outcome of some of the televised fights, it wasn't the best card ever, but UFC on Versus 2 was a huge winner when it came to exposure for the sport. The Sunday night primetime spot proved beneficial with little to compete against in the sports world. Versus went all in with its coverage, especially the postfight show. The network went back to San Diego for live spots with the winners, UFC analyst Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White. Former WEC color voice Frank Mir even served as the studio analyst back in New York.

The UFC pulled off a coup Monday morning with a Jon Jones appearance on ESPN's "SportsCenter." The very informed and excited Josh Elliott anchored the interview. That's a solid spot considering Jones was a minus-650 favorite and dispatched of Vladimir Matyushenko very easily, with few explosive highlights.

Does Jones even qualify as one of the top-10 names in MMA? Didn't the Juan Manuel Marquez (top-5 boxer by most accounts) win stand as a bigger story in the fight world? Yet ESPN chose to go with MMA.

Elliott did miss the mark on one potential hot button issue. Jones is pretty clichéd with his answers but some recent James Toney trash-talk got him talking (3:45 mark of Versus video).

"Now I actually have a heavyweight I wouldn't mind fighting. That's James Toney," Jones said when talking about getting his weight up to 231 pounds between fights. "'Mr. I'm going to slap Jon in his face.' I'd bump up for that fight any day."

It was a good weekend for MMA. Still makes you wonder why newspapers are so hesitant to cover the sport. We mentioned on Friday that the San Diego Union-Tribune seemed uneasy about covering the event. The paper did have an advance story on Saturday, but we didn't see anything on the day of the event. Monday, freelancer Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has the fight-night story for the paper.

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