Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 | 7:15 p.m.
Many fight fans were surprised to hear the UFC announce Nov. 12 as the date of its first event on FOX earlier today.
That’s because combat sports’ biggest draw, Manny Pacquiao, is scheduled to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the same night. But according to UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, the FOX card won’t directly compete with Pacquiao.
The UFC on FOX card begins at 6 p.m. and will feature two fights. It will last one hour and be completed before the start of Pacquiao's bout.
“We’ll be out of there before Pacquiao even walks to the ring,” Fertitta said. “This is going to be a perfect night for any fight fan. Get together with your friends, watch two big fights in the UFC and then change the channel to ride into the Pacquiao pay-per-view.”
The UFC has not announced which four fighters it will feature in the first FOX show, but Fertitta said the promotion had a plan. Starting in 2012, the UFC will show four cards per year on FOX.
Those events will likely feature more than the two bouts slated for the Nov. 12 card, which is expected to take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s going to be a little different with the first one,” Fertitta said. “It’s going to literally be back-to-back action. We aren’t going to mess around with a lot of pre-fight commentary, post-fight commentary. We are going to roll right in, set up the fights and let the action go.”
Fertitta promised the bouts headlining FOX events would be “big and relevant” and could potentially include title fights. But the first FOX card almost certainly won’t feature a belt on the line, as all seven UFC champions are already scheduled for their next defense.
The inaugural UFC on FOX card will feature a full preliminary slate — officials already confirmed a featherweight bout between Dustin Poirier and Pablo Garza for the undercard — before the two televised bouts.
“For the people coming live in Anaheim, it will be just like a full pay-per-view,” Fertitta said. “It’s a full fight card and if the first (televised fight) goes real quick, we’ll fill in like we always do.”
The event is scheduled a week before the promotion’s UFC 139 pay-per-view, which takes place in San Jose, Calif., and is headlined by a heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Fertitta said the UFC would use the opportunity on FOX to promote the Velasquez vs. dos Santos meeting. Using the network platform to hype upcoming pay-per-view cards is one area that will be constant going forward.
“At the end of the day, we’re a pay-per-view company,” White said at a press conference to announce the deal with FOX. “That’s what we do.”