For weeks, UFC President Dana White has said that the first ever main event for their debut on Fox could go ’10 seconds or 25 minutes’.
It took Junior dos Santos only 64 seconds to put away UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez on Saturday night to cap off the promotion’s network television debut.
Following the event, White says that while the fight was fast, it wasn’t unexpected.
“Well, I said at the first press conference this thing can go 30 seconds or this thing can go 25 minutes. We’ll see. Either way it’s going to be a great fight and it was. That’s what happens when you put two heavyweights in there who bang. Anything can happen,” White stated.
The biggest concern for White and the UFC staff heading into Saturday night was pulling off a show of this magnitude with no production issues along the way. It was the first time the UFC had worked with Fox, and also the first time in a very long time the promotion was dealing with a new television partner.
As far as that part of the night goes, White says mission accomplished.
“Listen, what I was worried about was getting this show off flawless without a hitch and it happened tonight. When you blend two productions together, we had Fox Sports and the UFC, going through the production and trying to work out all the kinks and make this thing smooth and seemless, that’s what I was worried about,” said White.
“As soon as those fights start, what happens, happens. There’s nothing you can do about that, we can’t control the fights.”
Prior to Saturday night ever happening, everyone continuously hounded White about the set up for the debut show on Fox.
Slated for a one hour special event, UFC officials had planned all along to go with one marquee fight and they focused on the heavyweight title fight between dos Santos and Velasquez.
The co-main event fight between Benson Henderson and Clay Guida went down prior to the headline contest, and the two lightweights ended up putting on an instant classic. A three round war that will likely garner some votes for ‘Fight of the Year’ when 2011 is over.
Because of that fact, critics in all forms from media to fans took to social networking platforms like Twitter, saying that the Henderson vs. Guida fight should have been shown on air as well.
“For anybody to bitch about this fight and they didn’t get to see that fight, shut up. You should have bought tickets then if you wanted to see all the fights, and you don’t like to watch it on Facebook. Seriously, shut up,” White said with conviction.
“I don’t even want to hear it.”
Plans going forward are for the UFC on Fox shows to generally peak at about 90 minutes with 2 to 3 fights in the broadcast, but as of last week Fox executives were still mulling over final decisions in regards to future shows.
The UFC on Fox show Saturday night was simply a bonus card that the promotion and network decided to do to kick off their new partnership. The actual deal picks up in Jan 2012.