UFC Maintains Control of Production Under New Fox Deal, But Plans on Changing Everything

August 18, 2011
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Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta at UFC 129

Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta at UFC 129

As the UFC embarks on the new deal with Fox, one of the biggest questions was what changes, if any, would be made to the production of the broadcasts?

In past dealings with television networks, UFC president Dana White has admitted that they didn’t want to give up complete production control to other entities.

It appears with Fox, the UFC will remain in complete control of their productions, however they will happily sit down with their new partners to discuss any relevant changes.

“I think their production is first class, and I doubt that there’s anything that we could bring. There will be discussions as the months and years go on about production, but I think they’re doing a fantastic job as it is,” said David Hill, Fox Sports Media Group Chairman.

One addition to the new UFC on Fox deal will be pre- and post-shows that will air on the subsidiary station Fuel TV in conjunction with all live broadcasts and UFC pay-per-views. Fox will handle those programs, but outside of that the UFC will maintain regular control of their shows.

“The production’s going to be done the same way it always has been,” said White. “Me and my crew will run the production, and Fox Sports will come in and we’re going to have a pre-show, a post-show, and they’ll bring in their guys, the Fox guys, for the pre- and post-show. The UFC’s going to run the production.”

Much like their time with Spike TV and other television partners, the UFC will sit down with executives and production teams at Fox to collaborate and make sure they are putting the best version of their product on television.

“We’re going to sit down with the team at Fox and collaborate on things,” said co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta.

While the UFC will maintain production control over its programming, it doesn’t mean major changes aren’t already in the works.

White is viewing the deal with Fox like a rebirth for the company and several big shifts will be made in everything from the UFC Fight Night broadcasts to a new look for the pay-per-views.

“I look at this Fox deal as a fresh start for us, so I want to change everything,” White stated. “I want to change the look of the pay-per-view, graphics, show open, the show opens in our Fight Nights, everything’s going to have a different feel to it.

“We’ll be working with these guys, I love what they do in sports, and to enhance the look and feel of a UFC event.”

What those changes will entail haven’t been revealed yet, but with the first Fox broadcast set for Nov. 12, fans won’t have to wait very long to find out.

As far as the broadcast team goes, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will still be the voices of the UFC shows, but just because of the sheer amount of programming, the UFC will be adding new talent as well.

“Obviously, Goldie and Rogan are going to be the main broadcast team for our big fights, pay-per-views, fights on Fox, fights on FX. Some additional programming, you know, we’re going to probably have to bring in some new talent because it’s just not physically possible for these guys to do that number of events and still have a life,” UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta told MMAWeekly.com.

“So, yeah, we’re going to be adding new talent, whether it be on live fights, whether it’d be on magazine shows, whether it be on pre-shows, post-shows.”

One big difference, however, to the look and feel of the UFC pay-per-views will be a change to the opening sequence that has run for the last several years.

“What about the gladiator opening?” asked UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

“It’s going away,” White responded.

The change will most likely be greeted well by fans, but maybe not as much from the band Stemm, whose song “Face the Pain” will fade into obscurity and possibly a special place as a question in Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy in a few years.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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