Floyd Mayweather Jr won't be the only combat sports attraction on American TV on May 5, as the UFC has scheduled their third network television show on Fox for that evening.
The UFC show will feature lightweights (155 lbs.) Nate Diaz and Jim Miller in a fight that has UFC fans extremely excited, and should attract a good amount of viewers and media attention. A flyweight (125 lbs.) bout between John Dodson and Darren Uyenoyama has also been signed.
This will mark the second time that UFC on Fox has gone head-to-head with -- some would say piggybacked -- a major boxing event. The first UFC on Fox show aired last November 12, up against the Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez show. Both shows were successful, as UFC drew good numbers in their network debut, and the Pacquiao vs Marquez show did well according to, well, according to Top Rank, I guess, with estimates that it did around 1.4 million buys.
Last time, the question going in was whether or not UFC's free show would impact the boxing buyrate, and how much crossover between the audiences there really was.
Part of me believes that the first part is a more valid question this time, actually. That November show had one fight on Fox. This will be a three-fight bill. But UFC won't be going head-to-head with boxing once Mayweather is actually in the ring, and the truth is, the majority of buyers for this big boxing events don't give a damn about the undercard, which is why boxing pay-per-views don't often have memorable undercards.
What I've really been thinking about this time is something else, though: In the future, I don't see any reason whatsoever for HBO or Showtime to avoid running a Saturday night card against a UFC pay-per-view. That core audience is still going to be there. I'm not saying put up a bigger premium cable fight against the UFC PPV, but let's say, for example, something like Maidana vs Alexander (just a type of fight you could safely put on an open date against a UFC PPV). Why not? Was that show going to reel in a bunch of UFC fans?
UFC clearly doesn't believe they have anything to lose by going up against major boxing with a show on free TV. HBO and SHO aren't free, but they're the homes of boxing. UFC doesn't work around boxing's schedule; if anything, they try to take advantage of it. Boxing probably can't take advantage of anything with an HBO or SHO broadcast against a UFC PPV, but I don't think anything would really be different, and I doubt they'd take any hits with the right fight.