Pound for pound boxing champ Manny Pacquiao‘s next fight has been scheduled for December 8th, the same night as the UFC’s next Fox network show. In the recent past when the UFC has had big shows scheduled the same night as major boxing events they’ve has hoped that earlier telecasts on would catch many viewers who were planning on watching boxing later in the evening.
Things may not have worked out that way for the UFC and this development of Pacquiao fighting on a date that the UFC had already set as a Fox event might end up taking away viewers from the MMA programming. Last May, the UFC on Fox 3 featured an exciting card headlined by a spectacular title contender’s fight between lightweights Nate Diaz and Jim Miller. The free to watch event was also followed, on pay per view, by Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting Miguel Cotto.
The UFC’s numbers ended up going down from their prior two Fox shows, while Mayweather’s win had an excellent buy-rate on pay per view. The UFC’s “come pre-game with us before boxing,” strategy might be more successful this time around if Fox promotes the heck out of the event during football telecasts as it did last year for the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos heavyweight title telecast.
Otherwise, the UFC had better hope that Fox is taking a qualitative and long-view of things because dropping ratings on network television are never good. The UFC on Fox events have been going up against some stiff competition, however.
This next one will go against Manny Pacquiao, the third went against Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, and their last one, the superb fourth edition, went up against the highest rated summer Olympic games in history.
Either Fox is grateful to have original programming that draws away some of those blockbusters’ audiences, or they are impatient instant gratification types. Time will tell.
The UFC on Fox 5 will feature a lightweight title fight between champion Benson Henderson and challenger Nate Diaz. Pacqiuao will likely fight either Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time or Timothy Bradley for a second.
Marquez is a Mexican star who has fought Pac-Man more closely and competitively than anyone in the last eight years and is also perennially among the top 3-5 pound for pound boxers in the world. Bradley is a champion and warrior who went up in weight to fight Pacquiao and got thoroughly out-classed and beaten before getting a controversial gift decision from the judges.
One of these fights would be infinitely more compelling to watch than the other. Which one do you think the UFC would rather go up against, nation?