Exactly one week from today the Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar hype will come to an end. No more interviews, no more training and no more advertisements enticing fans to purchase the Pay-Per-View.
However, before these two heavyweights step into the Octagon get ready for one wild and groundbreaking week of media coverage.
It has been reported that ESPN’s MMA Live will air three shows coinciding with UFC 91. MMA Live will put on a live weigh-in show along with pre-fight and post-fight coverage of the event.
It was clear back in September that ESPN was interested in covering this event. Before the ink on the contracts could even dry, Dana White, Couture, and Lesnar were in Bristol doing interviews with the network.
The UFC 91 main event billed as the biggest fight in UFC history seems to be getting the royal treatment. Somewhat similar coverage was had leading up to UFC 71.
Chuck Liddell was on the cover of ESPN the magazine, Dana White and Couture were doing interviews on ESPN and ESPNEWS and results of the main event were all over that evening’s edition of Sports Center.
Eighteen months have passed since Quinton Jackson knocked out Liddell. However, ESPN’s coverage of MMA since then has been relegated to ESPN.com for the most part.
Should fans expect the potential of mainstream media coverage to be dangled in front of their faces only to have it snatched away again? It’s a fair question to ask.
Most of it depends on the match-ups at this point. Superstars are getting superstar coverage. What that means is that MMA is still viewed as somewhat of a spectacle.
When ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and your local CBS sports affiliate starts breaking down every fight on a UFC card, that’s when you know we have arrived.
A new episose of MMA Live airs every Thursday on ESPN.com
-Matt De La Rosa