November 13, 2011
With the UFC's first broadcast on Fox over and a new heavyweight champion in place, everyone involved with the show will likely relax over the weekend and enjoy the spoils of this massive event. On Monday, they'll sit down and look at what worked and what didn't.
The one-hour broadcast was well-paced and informative, but far from perfect. There were elements that the UFC and Fox should definitely do again, and a few they need to change.
-- The use of the NFL on Fox music: Hearing the opening strains of the "NFL on Fox" music gave me goosebumps, and it sent a clear message from the start that the UFC on Fox would get the same big game treatment that the NFL gets every Sunday.
-- The history montage: UFC on Fox took place 18 years to the date after UFC 1, and the broadcast started with a pitch-perfect montage to show how far the promotion has come. Not only did it nod to hardcore and longtime fans, it also showed off some of the UFC's best-known stars.
-- The Dana White/Brock Lesnar segments: Lesnar was not afraid to verbally spar with his boss, and that made the segments more fun. Lesnar made it a little bit too much about himself, but White going back and forth with an intelligent fighter who knows how to speak on camera should be repeated.
-- Primetime, and the Primetime segments repeated: The Primetime special that aired on Fox to introduce viewers to dos Santos and Velasquez was smart, emotional, and fleshed out two men who were capable of such violence as real people. Not surprisingly, segments from those Primetimes were woven into the UFC on Fox broadcast and reminded new viewers that Velasquez is a doting father and dos Santos is a smiling mama's boy.
-- Introduction and rules from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan: This was very well-done. It's clear that Goldberg and Rogan were well-rehearsed and prepared for this segment. They didn't belabor the rules, and gave viewers things to look out for from each fighter.
-- Identify people on the red carpet: This was a chance for both the UFC and Fox to push their stars, but they whiffed by not identifying who each person was. I watch plenty of television, but didn't recognize many of the non-athletes on the red carpet.
-- Remind Dana White to take a breath: He was excited and nervous, but my Twitter timeline was filled with people who don't usually watch MMA saying that they didn't understand White. Perhaps he can use the advice Mrs. Excell gave me in sixth grade about speaking into a microphone: If you think you're talking too slowly, you're just about perfect.
-- Make room for another fight, or at least show a highlight reel of the undercard: Something that the UFC has done much better than boxing is build up stars by stacking an undercard. It was Fox's decision to have just one fight, but they had a prime opportunity to highlight the exciting Benson Henderson win over Clay Guida, DaMarques Johnson's knockout or Ricardo Lamas' submission. With not so much as a highlight montage, they whiffed on that.
Afterwards, White said that the production went perfectly. On the flip side, CNBC sports business Darren Rovell did an unscientific Twitter poll to ask non-MMA fans if they would watch again based on Saturday night's broadcast. He has nearly 20,000 followers, and 46.2 percent of those who replied said that they are less likely to watch.
That is due mostly to the short fight. The UFC didn't get a chance to showcase how exciting their fights can be in just 1:04, but did the broadcast help or hinder? Anything the broadcast needs to add or subtract? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.
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