The UFC has long been called the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts, and now their new television partners at Fox are treating it just like that for their debut event on the network.
On the heels of the announcement on Friday that the first fight for Fox on Nov. 12 would be a heavyweight title match between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, executives from both the UFC and Fox are promising a mega-event feel to the first show.
While the production will still be handled by the UFC, Fox executives are promising a Super Bowl type atmosphere for the show in Anaheim on Nov. 12.
“I will say one thing we will be doing is launching the UFC on Fox with a Super Bowl style red carpet and tailgate party with every star in Hollywood, and every dignitary we need to get out there to launch this thing. It will be a la Super Bowl tailgate and Super Bowl red carpet, with a huge party outside before the event,” said Fox Sports president Eric Shanks.
UFC president Dana White echoed those sentiments exactly.
“This is going to be an event of all events,” he stated.
As far as the production goes, the UFC staff will handle everything as usual, but that doesn’t mean that White and the executives at Zuffa aren’t open to making changes and working with their new partners at Fox to put out the best product possible.
“We like the style and feel of our show, we want input from Fox. We want the Fox look to this thing. We’re open to suggestions, we want to work with them,” said White.
Fox Sports chairman David Hill likes the look and feel of the UFC show and feels completely comfortable leaving the production in the hands of Dana White and his team at Zuffa.
“We’ll have a mini-pre game show and then into the fight. We’re very happy with the way Dana’s people do the production. We’re going to leave well enough alone,” Hill stated.
As far as the magnitude of this fight, White believed that Velasquez vs. Dos Santos would be the network television equivalent of what Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar at The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finale on Spike did for them, but on a much bigger scale.
Hill believes it’s even bigger than that.
“This is like us getting Ali-Foreman,” he said.
The two best heavyweights in the UFC will go to battle on Nov. 12 to see if they can prove White and Hill correct.