With the announcement of Fox Sports 1, Fox looks to become a strong competitor against the titan that is ESPN in the sports world. The network will feature a number of sporting events from contemporary sports, but will also feature quite a bit of UFC programming.

Staple UFC programming like UFC Tonight will merge from Fuel TV to Fox Sports 1 later this year, and the network will also feature 12 “Wednesday Night Fight” events. These events are expected to be similar to ESPN’s Friday Night Fights programming for boxing.

The move from FX and Fuel TV is a good one for the UFC. Fox Sports 1 is the golden child of Fox networks and will likely receive quite a bit of advertising across the many Fox networks. The UFC and FX never really “clicked,” as it seemed the two were paired up based out of necessity more than anything. FX markets itself around a robust array of movies along with shows like Sons of Anarchy and Justified, not athletic programming like the UFC.

The UFC’s move from Fuel TV will also be welcomed by a great deal of MMA fans. Although the number of subscribers to Fuel TV jumped quite a bit during the initial move to the network, far too many fans were left in the dark. The complaints of fans looking for an UFC fix on Fuel TV can be found on message boards across the internet.

There is one concern with this move, and that is the amount of events the UFC will be putting on, combined with the massive roster cuts underway. The company already has a hard enough time putting together one pay-per-view a month, plus the semi-regular Fox, FX and Fuel events, without injuries forcing UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to reshuffle the deck. Now the UFC will put on at least one pay-per-view a month with a few live TV events (12 total between the August debut of the new network and a to-be-determined date in 2014) thrown in? It’s hard enough to get guys to step in on short notice, let alone ask fighters on a dwindling roster to step up.

What reason would a fighter have to take a short-notice fight on a Wednesday night? The UFC has bent the rules a bit when it comes to providing favors for certain fighters, but your average John Doe fighter isn’t going to receive the same privilege for stepping up to the plate on a free show. UFC President Dana White loves to claim that the UFC puts on the “fights fans want to see,” but with its increased programming, where’s the logic behind reducing the amount of talent the promotion has at its disposal?

The move should provide a solid boost to the UFC’s viewership and mainstream appeal, but the promotion will need to put on events that both MMA fans and non-fight fans want to see. If it can continue putting on great cards like the last few on Fox, that shouldn’t be a problem, and the UFC should help another network find its footing, much like it did with Spike TV.

Photo: Fox Sports 1 Logo (Fox Sports)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.