This Saturday night is a huge night for fight fans, maybe the best night of fighting in 2012. In boxing, Manny Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Pay-Per-View and - before the boxing even gets started - the UFC has an historic fight live and free on FOX.
In the first UFC fight ever on network TV, undisputed, undefeated UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez defends his title against the awesome No1 contender Junior dos Santos. Modern mixed martial arts may be a young sport, but this fight from Honda Center in Anaheim, CA is a real throwback to the days of Dempsey or Ali or Tyson.
Cain became the Man the old fashioned way just like Dempsey or Ali did: he beat the Man who beat the Man who beat the Man. And Junior earned his shot just like a Sonny Liston or a Mike Tyson: did he knocked out top 10 guys until he was the last man standing.
Cain and Junior are the biggest punchers in the heavyweight division and this is a fight that, as a promoter, I have no doubt that it will deliver on FOX.
The Velasquez v dos Santos fight on FOX revives the great tradition from boxing where the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship will be defend on network TV. It’s taken a long time for this to happen again - it is 26 years since Larry Holmes last fought on NBC. I have always wanted to bring big fights back to network TV.
There’s always been a lot of talk about the UFC killing boxing. I’ve always said that boxing is hurting boxing, not the UFC. I honestly believe that many people are fans of both. And I can prove it: on September 17, the UFC drew 2million viewers to a live fight on cable TV… a couple hours later over 1.3million fans bought the Floyd Mayweather PPV. Fight fans stayed in and watched both!
It will happen again this Saturday. The Cain v JDS fight will start at 6pm on the West Coast and 9pm in the East. There will be a full hour between the UFC fight ending and the Pac-Man v Marquez fight beginning – and I promise you it will be a huge night for combat sports again.
On Monday morning, millions of Americans will go to work and be asked by a colleague if he saw ‘the fights’ on Saturday night.
And the conversation will be about boxing AND the UFC on FOX.
Dana White, UFC President
November 9, 2011