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FOX Exec Says Fighters And UFC Bosses Responsible For Network Interest

The UFC has been around since 1993, but it wasn’t until Dana White and the Fertitta brothers took the company reigns that the brand along with the sport of MMA began to skyrocket in popularity. Under Zuffa control, the sport has spread all over the globe and gains new fans daily. Their most recent move made to grow the UFC brand was striking a deal with FOX, which will see the promotion sharing their product for the first time on network TV.

During a recent press conference held to promote their debut on FOX – which will come on November 12 – FOX Sports president Eric Shanks discussed how the UFC grabbed network attention and made it clear that MMA was a sport worth taking mainstream.

“You know, I worked at DirecTV for five or six years and being in business with these guys there, I can’t tell you how many times – whether it’s people inside the business or outside – said, ‘You know what? It’s a fad. It’s gonna plateau and then it’s gonna go down.’ And you know what? Between the guys that they put in the Octagon and Lorenzo and Dana and Frank themselves, it just never has. This thing keeps on growing. I think the passion and the heart and the soul of the guys leading it and then you just look at the quality of the fighters – not just in the Octagon – but the quality of the fighters themselves, it’s just a sport that we wanted to be in business with a long time now and the opportunity finally got here. This is it.”

UFC on FOX 1 will take place from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California; the hour-long broadcast will focus primarily on a heavyweight title fight between champ Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior dos Santos.