In a first-ever move for the world’s most prominent MMA promotion, the UFC will air the under card fights of 103: “Franklin vs. Belfort” on Sept. 19 in their entirety for free on Spike TV. The prelim bouts which precede the main pay-per-view portion of the evening have never before been scheduled for television.
Being that the under card often showcases solid action, it has long been a fan complaint that the 40 some odd dollars spent to watch an event does not net the full show. That seems to be changing now via a report published by the Orange County Register. According to the Register, Spike TV will air the under card matches in the two hours one hour leading up the beginning of the pay-per-view portion.
Some may be asking why now and what this means, so let’s run down what we can take away from this move if it comes to fruition.
- The UFC brass have known for a while that fans, both mainstream and hardcore, desire the prelim fights. This pleases those enthusiasts (myself included) and further illustrates the transparent, quality business strategy UFC flies by.
- Folks who casually view Fight Nights and pre-recorded UFC programming on Spike will get their (potentially) first ever taste of a live PPV-quality event.
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going head-to-head with MMA on the night of UFC 103 and attempting to nab fight fans looking to spend money on a good pay-per-view as he fights Juan Manuel Marquez the same night. Many critics and even those in the boxing world have predicted it will be a tough night for Mayweather as he wishes to directly compete with the UFC. By showing the UFC under card free on Spike, it will further entice those on the fence to spend their greenbacks on top shelf MMA.
- This could possibly be a sign of things to come in the future. Upcoming under cards of big shows on big weekends could be shown again for free on Spike TV, similar to Affliction’s tactics with HDNet prior to their collapse as a promotion.