The UFC has found a home for the UFC 125 prelims on Jan. 1. Ion Television will host the prelim show, which has previously been broadcast on SpikeTV. And according to MMAJunkie.com‘s John Morgan, UFC President Dana White plans to have three prelims during the broadcast rather than the standard two.
White told Morgan that, based on the uproar from fans, he’s going to squeeze in Phil Baroni’s clash with Brad Tavares. The report also says that Ion will televise Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier and Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens.
If you aren’t familiar with Ion Television — formerly called PAX TV — the last time I checked, you can actually pick it up free with the appropriate antenna. So, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, the UFC is on network television! … sort of. It’s not NBC or CBS or anything, but it counts I suppose.
Ion does have some MMA experience, having televised many of the now defunct BodogFight promotion events on tape delay.
White told Morgan:
“The prelims were not supposed to be aired for this show, but I know the fans are always asking how I’m going to pay them back for some other shows. Well, here you go. If everything else I do isn’t enough, let this one be it. These guys are considered a network. The FCC calls them a network. This is the first time we’ve ever been on network television, and the prelims are going to be aired. It’s a big deal. It’s in over 100 million homes.”
The UFC president would not speculate whether this could be the beginning of a longer relationship with the network.