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Three UFC 125 Prelim Fights to Air on Something Called ‘Ion Television’

(Marcus Davis and Ion: A match made in…convenience?)

Less than a week before UFC 125 goes down in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White has revealed that there will be a "Prelims" broadcast before the pay-per-view card – good news, since it’s one of the most interesting undercards in recent memory. But it won’t be aired on Spike TV. For the first time, the UFC will put a broadcast on Ion Television, which is apparently cause for celebration, even though we only had a vague knowledge of the channel’s existence until this morning. Said Dana White: "These guys are considered a network. The FCC calls them a network. This is the first time we’ve ever been on network television, and the prelims are going to be aired. It’s a big deal. It’s in over 100 million homes."

Three fights will be scheduled for the broadcast – Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens, Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier, and Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares – which is unprecedented in itself. "The prelims we do air, there’s only supposed to be two," White said. "Time-wise, it’s impossible to pull off three if they all go to the distance. I’m going to roll the dice on this thing. Not only are we going to bring the prelims to the fans, but everybody has been hammering me for the Phil Baroni-Brad Tavares fight, so I’m going to do three fights. I’m going to give them that fight, too."

Of course, White isn’t just putting this show together out of the goodness of his heart. He also hopes that the UFC 125 prelim broadcast will finally put an end to those "how are you going to repay us for UFC 112?" demands that have hounded him all year. 

"I always try to give the fans as much as I can give them," White said. "I love being able to give them free fights. That’s always been my goal and my model with this thing since day one…the prelims were not supposed to be aired for this show, but I know the fans are always asking how I’m going to pay them back for some other shows. Well, here you go. If everything else I do isn’t enough, let this one be it." Got that, you ungrateful brats?

Ion launched in 1998 as PAX TV, rebranded itself as ’i’ in 2005, then changed its name again to Ion in 2007. Financial troubles have plagued the network in recent years, and it is absent in a number of major markets like Albuquerque, New Mexico; Reno, Nevada; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Still, Ion’s ratings are on an upswing. Dana White wouldn’t comment on the network potentially being the future destination of that rumored UFC channel, only saying that "this might be a regular thing."

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Fedor Penn- December 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm
They should contract with HDNet, your home for MMA!
Meister574- December 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm
It's kind of like an upstart version of what WGN is and what TBS used to be.
uzithrasha- December 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm
channel 101 on direct tv. They show all the ufc weigh ins live every time
DangadaDang- December 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm
Man if Marcus looked like that after Nate fuckin Diaz just imagine what Stephens is gunna do to him.
DazedNConfused- December 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Oh I just found out Rogers Sportsnet is airing it. Hmm... nevermind then, do whatever you want, I get that shizz in HD son.
DazedNConfused- December 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm
Oh I just found the answer myself:

"While the debut of the UFC on network television can be considered a new landmark for the promotion and the UFC is touting UFC 125 prelims' reach of almost 100 million U.S. households through ION, that number is right there with the basic cable channel Spike TV, which is available in 99.4 million homes."

Goodjob Dana White, you really showed Bob Reilly and all the competitors with this shitty channel. Spike has MORE homes, and a way better demographic. Leaving Spike would be a huge mistake. I always found that channel fit perfect with the UFC. The only thing I can't stand with Spike is their CSI reruns.

Michael Davis Smith Tweets:

"UFC preliminary fights on IonTV are a step down from Spike--fewer households, worse demographic.

Ion's demographic is "people who buy things off infomercials"

Awesome. So apparently their contract with Spike TV is ending soon, and this could be a permanent thing. He always talks about how awesome Canadian fans are, maybe he should get on giving us some free prelims too, you bald piece of cuntass dog shit. :'(
DazedNConfused- December 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm
I just don't get why it can't be on "Ion" and Spike. I live in Canada, and Ion sounds like some shitty southern states channel which airs reruns that burnouts who call in sick lots can watch.

In other words it's the channel for me, I just don't live close enough to watch it so fuck that noise. How many homes is spike in? it must be 40-50million atleast? it's a main channel up here with standard cable.
nicey- December 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm
Just read that Ion broadcasts over the air in 720p, so should be in HD for me. BETTER BE, CAN'T BE HAVIN NO 480i SHIT UP IN HEEYAH.
twoleftfeet- December 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Yep thisis sweet, as I don't have cable either. and I actually want to watch these prelims.
nicey- December 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm
ION in HD? I have directTV, and I have the Ion channel, but I don't think its HD. FML
Sudos KFC- December 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm
I am with you Pixel. I was just complaining that there werent any prelims fights going to be shown then boom! next second I find out there will be broadcast over a network station for free. And there will be three fights instead of two, and I get it in hd through time warner. what is there to bitch about you fucking nerds. Fedor need to crawl back into whatever hole you came out of. pronto.
stuckpixel- December 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm
Man, fuck everyone hating on this.

Ion might not be the most well known broadcast station - but it is a broadcast channel, and that means it will be available to a ton more people than it would ever be on spike.

I don't have cable - and I'll be able to watch this. It will be huge for ION if they keep this kind of thing going forward - and breaking into the airwaves will be fantastic for the UFC.

I'm also willing to bet ION was willing to give up a LOT of control to the UFC as far as production and whatnot - so I'm sure that was a huge deciding factor as well.
Fedor Penn- December 28, 2010 at 11:09 am
This is retarded. Next up will be Telemundo. Just leave the shit on Spike Dana, you pussy.
Waxedpants- December 28, 2010 at 10:28 am
If anyone at ION has half a brain they will put together a Jlove bikini montage commercial to show during breaks.

I do love me some Jlove
donfryesmustache- December 28, 2010 at 10:25 am
WTF, is there a reason why SPIKE is getting phased out??!!
Waxedpants- December 28, 2010 at 10:17 am
I just hope they follow Spike's production technique. The shows on Versus. with all the ridiculous picture-in-picture bullshit and cutting out the full fighter interviews with rogan was totally unacceptable. Looked like something an editing student slapped together for a campus tv event.
BONGTAR- December 28, 2010 at 10:14 am
ooh I hope its right next to the Oxygen channel!!
KillerPug- December 28, 2010 at 10:13 am
Just found the station on my box. Infomercial from now until 4. Then Ghost Whisperer 7 times in a row. Exactly the UFC demographic.
Gardeninja- December 28, 2010 at 10:12 am
Does ION have a sister channel in Canada? I pay 300$ plus bucks a month for (FULL) cable/hd package from those misers at SHAW with a PPV on it. First I missed out on Bellator and had to wait 2 days for it to air on SportsnetCA and now I might miss some prelims...sooo sad.
Waxedpants- December 28, 2010 at 10:08 am
Best free prelims eva!
Reverend_Clint- December 28, 2010 at 8:06 am
they used to play bogdog fights a while back but are currently the least watch tv network
Promise of Stress- December 28, 2010 at 7:56 am
EFB - Win . . . . . . . . . . Definite win.
Kid Clam Curtains- December 28, 2010 at 7:48 am
When I think of major network channels its always NBC, CBS, ABC Fox and Ion. I call it "The Pentagon." A 5 sided juggernaut of networks that dominate TV ratings. I know I'm not alone here. Great work, Dana!
El Famous Burrito- December 28, 2010 at 7:43 am

On the upside, no ads for Blue Mountain State.
knucklesamitch- December 28, 2010 at 7:42 am
There is no ION affiliate in Maryland. That shit used to be called PAX, and it sucked then. According to wikipedia (I can't believe I'm referencing wikipedia), ION is the 2nd least network in the U.S. behind MyNetworkTV.

Wow Dana, you really showed Coker and Co., You've hit the big time baby, NETWORK TELEVISION!!