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Fight Nights

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Fox Sports 1 launched over the weekend. It’s a channel that in theory offers a fresh and new outlook to sports journalism, but with the advent of Fox News and its over-editorializing effect on reporting, questions have been asked. For starters, the presentation resembles that of a Fox News broadcast with tons of information crammed onto the screen in text form, and a hip, ultra-futuristic set that is a tightened up version of the NFL Sunday decorations. But the biggest problem so far that I see is the lack of content which should change over the upcoming months as it moves forward , but eight hours of their sports recap show is too much and the show itself feels like their ill-fated sports show “The Final Score” 2.0.

Sports fans are loyal and how can you entice them to your network? As of right now, NBC Sports is nothing more than a place-holder channel where boxing fans can expect average-to-poor cards. Then there is the CBS Sports network which is the most infamous flop of any upstart sports network and may not be able to run original content in the coming years due to the dismal numbers.

Fox Sports 1 is in bed with the UFC and Golden Boy promotions hoping that fight fans transition over along with college sports fans to help draw in their demographic. On Saturday the UFC broadcasted nearly six hours of live content through Fox Sports 1 with a heavily hyped card that was anticipated by many and had more downs than ups. The PPV level card sadly saw the pressure of UFC hype, coupled with fears of being cut, hinder performances in some of the fights as well as showing that some fighters such as Shogun Rua and Alistair Overeem are a shell of what they once were.

Overeem is now 0-2 since popping for elevated levels of testosterone in a random drug test when he was supposed to fight then-heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, the question now becomes at a six figure-plus price tag and a record of 1-2 in the UFC with one dirty test is Overeem worth keeping around anymore? Overeem is steadily losing his feared striker shtick as he has now been knocked out in back-to-back loses where he doesn’t seem to respect his opponent. The man who once looked destined for UFC stardom is now more or less a man that is a mid-tier gatekeeper to the elite.

The symbiotic relationship between UFC and Fox Sports 1 seems to be deeply invested in bringing education and legitimacy to the sport through media coverage outside of just the UFC programing. Fox Sports 1 will also include weigh ins, topical shows, prelims, and some mid-week cards that will occur on Wednesday that will feature one fight with title implications and scattered fighters who have a following, but do not draw well on the undercard.

As for Golden Boy Promotions they will be using the relationship with Fox Sports 1 as a showcase for their young fighters such as Danny Jacobs who is on Monday night. Jacobs has long been rumored to fight Peter Quillen and the fact that Golden Boy has featured Jacobs exclusively in New York City/Brooklyn shows that the idea of the two meeting is tempting the execs, yet they need an impressive win from Jacbos to set the stage. Jacobs now should have a good shot on Monday to get that win.

For hardcore boxing fans it will be a nice change as Fox Sports 1 will feature slightly bigger names than “Friday Night Fights,” but may sacrifice in some instances competitive affairs. It seems that Fox Sports 1 will work as a primetime start of the work-week showcases and may try to bring back the magic of memories past from USA network’s “Tuesday Night Fights.” The public perception be that while Top Rank keeps fighters more active, it appears that Golden Boy seems to be attempting to give back to the fans and not trying to blatantly build up a certain star.

The end the start of a new network cannot be judged in one night, but over the long scheme of things. The network is just hoping fight fans see the network as a believable source.

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