FOX Sports’ seven-year run as the UFC’s broadcast television home came to an end last Saturday night with UFC Fight Night Milwaukee.
ESPN will take over as the UFC’s television and streaming video partner in January. The first UFC Fight Night of 2019 will be streaming on ESPN+ (the network’s subscription-based streaming platform) on Jan. 19 live from Brooklyn.
In my mind, the main event between Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee, won by Iaquinta by decision, was an absolutely fantastic way for the network’s run to end. You couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate way to go out after seven years.
The co-main event of the UFC on FOX finale was a systematic victory for Edson Barboza over Dan Hooker via third-round TKO. As I was watching that particular fight, I saw Barboza score numerous significant blows to his opponent. There’s basically no defense against the kicks that Barboza was landing in that fight.
I really thought that the fight should have been halted about four different times before it actually was called. Even UFC President Dana White admitted that the contest should have gotten called earlier for Barboza in a post-fight interview on Saturday night with Laura Sanko.
What really struck me was White’s comments about the promotion’s relationship with FOX. I echo his sentiments that the network has been a great champion for the sport of mixed martial arts.
Bringing MMA to the people
Before the FOX deal, all I saw of MMA was clips of past fights used in commercials for upcoming pay-per-views. The only other thing was a CBS Strikeforce Saturday Night event in April of 2010. When FOX started broadcasting the UFC, I began watching MMA regularly and am now a die hard fan of the sport.
It all began with a 2011 press conference in Studio 2A of the FOX Television Center in Los Angeles on the FOX NFL Sunday set. Seven years later, UFC’s relationship with FOX ends with the network having played a major role in bringing MMA further into the public consciousness.
There was a wonderful video package that ran during Saturday night’s main card. If you didn’t see it, take a look:
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