The UFC’s current TV deal with the Fox family of networks came together rather quickly when it went down late last year. The UFC and Fox jumped in head first, with UFC president Dana White consistently saying that it is a “work in progress.”
The latest moving part to the work in progress is shifting the preliminary bouts leading up to “Big Fox” events from the little known Fuel TV over to the widespread reach of the FX basic cable network.
The largest draw for preliminary bouts on Fuel TV to this point has been 194,000 for UFC on Fox 4 in August, while FX’s top draw for prelims was 1.8 million for July’s UFC 148.
The change comes with the UFC on Fox 5 event, which is slated for Dec. 8 in Seattle.
“The thinking there is obviously FX is in a lot more homes than Fuel, and it's just a funnel,” said Eric Shanks, president of the Fox Sports Media Group. “The more people you have watching the prelims and telling them where to catch the fight, the bigger the fight's going to be (on Fox).
“We wanted to do it with this one and get that funnel as big as possible.”
If everything goes as planned, moving the preliminary bouts from Fuel TV to FX for UFC on Fox events is likely to be permanent.
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