Blended martial arts has a tumultuous background on broadcast Television set, from the Kimbo Slice EliteXC times and the Gus Johnson-narrated put up-struggle brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville on CBS to the UFC’s Fox debut with a heavyweight title combat and its subsequent considerably less desirable playing cards. But a single network that by no means experienced much of a relationship with MMA was ABC, less than the very same umbrella as ESPN, the UFC’s existing Television husband or wife. That improvements on January 16th, far more than 12 decades just after EliteXC’s CBS debut.
On Monday, ESPN introduced that the Fight Night card, with a most important event of Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar, would be simulcast on ABC and ESPN+ at 3 PM ET. This marks the very first time that a UFC party has aired on ABC, and the UFC’s initially overall look on broadcast Television in more than two a long time, since its Fox deal expired. Of notice, equally the prelims and put up-struggle displays will only air on ESPN+.
Notably, this is the Saturday of the NFL’s Divisional round of playoffs. ABC and/or ESPN does not have a Divisional activity, with the 4 online games airing on Fox, CBS, and NBC, but a person of the Saturday games has always began in the middle of the afternoon. Past year’s game amongst the Vikings and 49ers on Saturday began at 4:35 PM ET, which would be right in the heart of the UFC card on ABC.
Counterprogramming the NFL playoffs is a bold shift, but with an afternoon begin time, it’s less difficult for ABC to slot the fight card into the plan devoid of disrupting primetime programming. It also follows a pattern of additional sports activities information on ABC, from the NFL to international soccer to MLB playoff online games. I would not be stunned if, irrespective of how this function does viewership-smart, we see a lot more UFC situations air on ABC this year. Just really do not hope the star-laden PPV activities to be on broadcast Television. That’s a bridge far too considerably.