UFC on FOX 31 Preview

ufc-fox31It is an end of an era this weekend when FOX hosts its final fight on their network as the deal with them and the UFC ends at the end of 2018.

It will be the 31st card on the big network along with countless others on networks like Fuel TV, FS1, FS2 and FX over the last seven years.

In the 25 year history of the UFC, their deal with FOX was by far the biggest step they have ever taken as a promotion.

The way most people found out about this weird underground fight club with no rules was through DVDs.

They were passed around giving the promotion an almost mystical feel that not many people knew about.

Eventually, pay-per-view became a favourite among consumers and they began to find the UFC on the service more often.

Still, the UFC and MMA, in general, remained a relatively hidden sport where the legend grew about how brutal the sport was.

All the while, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers were working to shed that image and become more of a mainstream sport.

One major step was to bring the sport to cable TV when they signed a deal with Spike TV becoming one of the channels major pulls.

It gave rise to The Ultimate Fighter reality show and provided a more accessible way to watch fights.

They would host free fights regularly on Spike in order to build up names and eventually sell their pay-per-view events.

The free fights grew and eventually became a major part of the schedule but they were still trapped on cable away from the majority of eyes.

That all changed in 2011 when the UFC left Spike TV and signed their seven-year deal with FOX.

The UF was taking MMA into a new dimension as they were now on one of the biggest networks in North America.

They would host a number of fights on the family of networks including FOX’s sports channels but would also get fights on the big network.

This meant that for the first time the UFC would be on network TV providing them with a bigger audience than ever before.

It pushed them towards the mainstream and helped them build their brand as the best MMA promotion in the world.mma-sidebar.fw

They have still not crossed into the mainstream but the deal with FOX was a huge step for them and for the sport.

In January they take another massive step with their new deal with ESPN beginning in the new year.

This deal is not going to give them the same amount of exposure but to be on the biggest sports network in the world gives them a legitimacy that FOC could never bring them.

Before the deal runs out though the UFC will host one last fight on the big network and although it might not include the firepower they brought when the deal started it could be a fun card to watch.

That has everything to do with the main event between two of the best lightweights in the world who haven’t been heard from much in recent months.

Both reached the very top of the division as they have fought the best fighters in the world but both took losses.

Although they showed well they weren’t able to get those wins and their momentum was stopped.

Now both are battling that idea that they are great but not great enough to win a title.

Kevin Lee is on that path after beating Edson Barboza in his last fight but before that fight, he wasn’t able to take a win over Tony Ferguson.

Meanwhile, Al Iaquinta was given the toughest of tasks in having to beat Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice.

It obviously didn’t pan out and now the record shows he isn’t as good despite his great showing against the current champion.

Both Lee and Iaquinta want to prove that they do belong in the running for the title and they will need this win to get there.

Meanwhile, both look to put on a show on the final FOX card before the UFC moves to ESPN in the new year.


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