Breaking Through the Assignment

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Blaydes vs NgannouUFC Fight Pass has been an interesting experiment for the UFC who launched the service looking to stay ahead of the curve.

The UFC started the service when they looked ahead to the future of the sport landscape.

More and more people were getting rid of cable or satellite in favour of subscription services like Netflix.

Sports was one of the few aspects of television that was unaffected at first as the people who loved sports were still going to pay to see it live.

As time went on though the demand for sports to be moved further online only increased and the UFC looked to catch on before it was too late.

After all, the UFC has been based on pay-per-views for years and a deal with FOX was a big reason for their growth.

They had always made their way doing things differently though and for the promotion, this was a chance for them to find their way into the digital space.

They could host their fights on the service including exclusive fights while also producing original content that their fans would watch whenever they wanted.

Despite the continued move towards live sports heading online Fight Pass has never really picked up steam.

The UFC continues to hold exclusive events and special productions on the subscription service but they have failed to really grow their subscriptions.

There will be no abandoning this although they will be using ESPN to help them go online with a new deal starting in 2019 that will put fights on ESPN’s streaming service.

The UFC may be committed to this service but the reality is that this service is meant for exclusive fights that aren’t going to be seen by many people.

It is the unfortunate truth but as the UFC continues to expand throughout the world they need places to show fights that aren’t necessarily great times for North America.

Rather than continuing to play to the North American audience, they are scheduling fights that make sense for where they are in the world.

These fights are not at the right time for pay-per-view and would earn little to no money while usually aren’t big enough.

FOX won’t broadcast these games, and ESPN would make the same decision because it makes no sense to show them when they need to be shown live.

So the UFC heads to Fight Pass where they have control but more often than not the biggest market doesn’t care.

That was the case for UFC Fight Night 141 as the UFC travelled to Beijing looking to build that Chinese market with a fight that would broadcast at 5:00 am EST.

These fights are big for the markets that they are in but fighters who depend more on North America never want to be a part of these fights.

They are essentially a place to be buried as the UFC gives them a fight but not many people will see it and their stock won’t rise.

That is unless they can find a way to break through the noise and get a highlight that can be talked

That is easy for fights in North America with more people watching but these fights make everything harder for every fighter.

It is what Francis N’Gannou and Curtis Blaydes were up against as both were in good standing in the heavyweight division trying to make an impression and get a shot.

Neither were going to grow a lot in the UFC with a win on a Fight Pass card too early in the morning for most people to watch in North America.

So both needed to go out and do something special that would force fans to talk about them despite not seeing the fight.

Both men had the ability to do that as N’Gannou has forced many people to talk about him with some impressive knockouts to his name.

The power is in Blaydes as well although his dominance comes from his ground and pound rather than his stand up.

Seeking some attention in a division just beginning to get going, both fighters entered the octagon with a finish in mind.

It didn’t take long for one of the fighters to make that vision come true as the fight would only last 44 seconds.

At that 44 second mark, N’Gannou landed a big right hand behind the ear of Blaydes sending him to the mat.

Despite his attempts to stand up, he could never quite find his footing and N’Gannou made sure he left no doubt attacking Blaydes on the ground and forcing the fight to be stopped

It was exactly what N’Gannou needed as he not only got back on the winning track after two straight losses and did it in emphatic fashion.

He made some noise on social media to the fans that didn’t wake up at 5:00 am to see the fight doing what he could to overcome where and when he was fighting.

Being buried on a Fight Pass card can often mean bad things but for the winner, he is at least ack on the winning track heading back to being a contender.



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