UFC on FOX 3 Going Head-To-Head With Major Boxing Event Does Not Worry ZUFFA Boss
By Jason Kindschy:
In an interview with MMAfighting.com yesterday, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta discussed the concerns about going head-to-head with a big boxing match.
UFC on FOX 3 is set to air on May 5th from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The headliner being Nate Diaz taking on Jim Miller for the right to a lightweight title shot. On the same night, Floyd Mayweather is set to take on Miguel Cotto in the boxing ring on Pay-Per View. With success and failure going up against boxing’s biggest fights, Lorenzo Fertitta is confident the UFC will pull the ratings on May 5th.
UFC on FOX 1 as we all remember was the heavyweight title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. The same night, Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez on Pay-Per-View. Similar to that night in November, the UFC event will end before the Mayweather and Cotto fight begins.
Fertitta and FOX don’t seem to mind sharing the stage with boxing’s best. Fertitta stated to MMAfighting.com, “That’s kind of FOX’s deal, they do all the research; they’re really smart guys. They like that fact that we’re going to go on the same night, but the window is different. Meaning, we’ll be done before Floyd fights Cotto.” Lorenzo went on to say, “The theory is people are home. It’s a great fight night; you’re going to watch Pacquiao or whatever; you can turn on FOX, you can watch our fight; you’ll have a great night.”
Many in the boxing community would call the correlation between MMA and boxing blasphemous. Whereas most MMA fans will admit they do tune in to watch boxing’s biggest fights. According to long time boxing fan Fertitta though, the truth lies in the numbers.
“I think they are pretty similar,” said Fertitta. “I think if you like boxing, for the most part, you like mixed martial arts. I think that there is a bit of an age difference in the demographic, I think boxing generally skews older, but my personal belief, I think HBO always comes out and says, ‘Oh, we did research. There’s no correlation.’ Really? That’s interesting. When we have DirecTV and In Demand do research, they see a lot of correlation between who buys boxing and who buys the UFC. There is definitely a correlation there.”
This research seems to make sense when you take a look at how the UFC handles these things. Rarely do we see a UFC Pay-Per-View going head to head with a Pacquiao or Mayweather fight. If this research speaks any truth, the UFC is smart to avoid battling for fans that watch both UFC and boxing.
Lorenzo Fertitta feels the same way, stating “… If you would ask me, I would never go head-to-head (with Mayweather or Pacquiao) in a Pay-Per-View. We tried it once and we got killed. But it’s on free TV and people are already home.” Luckily for Lorenzo and the UFC, boxing promoters only put these big fights on two or three times a year.
One interesting thing to note about the Mayweather vs. Cotto card is that, unlike most boxing events, there will be an undercard with big names such as Shane Mosley, and Canelo Alvarez. This is something I have personally been a critic of when it comes to a boxing PPV. Why pay $55 for one fight, when with a UFC card you get 8-10 fights for the same price? It seems that perhaps Bob Arum has taken some notes from the UFC’s playbook, although I am sure he would not admit such a thing.
Regardless of the under card issue, the UFC has a big one-up on boxing; that is making the fights that the fans want to see happen. The UFC has always catered to their fans and put on fights that we all want to see. Unlike the UFC, the boxing higher-ups have yet to make the biggest boxing match of all time happen, Mayweather against Pacquaio. Lorenzo Fertitta feels that the promoters involved are just trying to drag out the suspense for as long as they can.
Fertitta stated, “It’s one of those things where they’re fighting one or two times a year and people do care at the end of the day because they’re all looking forward and hoping at one point they actually fight each other. Unfortunately for that sport, from a business standpoint based on the way it’s structured, it makes more sense for guys like Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions and Bob Arum to keep milking the public over and over again because once they fight it’s over, right? Unless they keep doing rematches. I mean, how many times are they going to re-sell Cotto and Mosley and all these guys? I think I bought that pay-per-view like three or four times, (and) it wasn’t that good of a fight. Just get on with it. Make the fight. C’mon.”
So after Diaz and Miller square off in what could be fight of the year, fans will flip the channel and tune in to see Mayweather and Cotto try to match the action. May 5th sure will be a huge night of combat sports, but the big question will be which one of these events delivers the type of action we all tune in to see. I think we all know the answer to that.