|Cain Velasquez will take on Junior dos Santos for the UFC's heavyweight championship in November. (QMI Agency files)
CALGARY - UFC president Dana White pulled no punches when it came to announcing the fight club’s first scrap on FOX-TV.
“On November 12, the most prestigious championship of all sport will take place on FOX,” said White.
“Cain Velasquez will take on Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight championship of the world.”
White said the free TV event — to air on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada — will be a one hour, five-round fight with plenty of build-up.
“There are going to be millions of people tuning in that have never seen the UFC before,” said White.
“We’re going to have to be spending some time introducing people to the sport and laying out some of the rules and things like that.”
White said he anticipates the event will have the largest viewership numbers of any UFC fight in North and South America.
White said the decision to air the Velsquez/dos Santos fight free was made only days ago after many machinations of what the first event on FOX should be.
“We were looking at so many fights. But we wanted to deliver to our fans and kick it off in a real serious way,” says White.
“We were kicking so many things around. Do you go with Anderson Silva the greatest pound for pound fighter in the world? There were all sorts of fights we were looking at. But the obvious answer was staring us in the face. The heavyweight championship of the world.”
Velasquez — undefeated at 9-0 with eight knockouts — will face the Number 1 contender Junior dos Santos who is 13-1.
White says the fight, at Anaheim’s Honda Center, will be a full card though details of who will fight in the undercard and how the rest of those scraps will be broadcast are still being worked out.
“The fans at the Honda Center won’t notice the difference. It’ll be like any pay-per-view,” says White.
“And we’ll find a way to broadcast those other fight to the fans.”
UFC on FOX 1 comes a week before UFC 139 in San Jose — which was long rumoured to be the Velasquez title defence.
White says he’s excited at the potential affect of a free FOX fight one week before the Brian Bowles/Urijah Faber battle at UFC 139.
“Having a free fight on Fox leading to a pay-per-view the next week sure doesn’t suck,” says White.
White says he’s not worried that the free event will be hurt by the world’s most popular boxer, Manny Pacquiao, taking on Juan Manuel Marquez the same night.
“Do we think we will lose viewers? Duh! We’re free. You don’t need to pay $65 for a pay-per-view to see the UFC heavyweight championship,” says White.