When it first emerged that the first ‘UFC On FOX’ event would air on the same night as the major boxing pay-per-view event featuring Manny Pacquiao Vs Juan Manuel Marquez it was reported that promoter Bob Arum was furious.
After learning that the free MMA event would air prior to the boxing event’s major bouts he appears to have changed his tune however, and in a bold move he’s also now indcated that he may even advertise during the show.
“They can watch the MMA and after that’s finished they can see most of the show, particularly all of the Manny Pacquiao fight. So, we’re probably even going to advertise on MMA,” Arum told EsNewsReporting.com.
If true this is interesting on a number of levels, particularly given recent comments from Arum that the two sports were completely separate and that, “less than 5%” of UFC fans are also boxing fans.”
If he really did feel it was as black and white as that then he would have no need for him to lay down money advertising on FOX during the UFC’s heavyweight title fight.
Spending money advertising during the UFC’s show means that Arum is to some extent eating humble pie and acknowledging that the sport of boxing can no longer pretend to be ignoring MMA’s rise to prominence as a major player in the sporting world.
Of course there’s also an element of gamesmanship here. At this moment in time Pacquiao is the biggest star in combat sports so flaunting him during one of the biggest night’s in the UFC’s history is a chance for Arum to try to steal some of their thunder and remind the millions who’ll be watching that boxing is still alive and kicking.
The irony of all this is that FOX were very dismissive of boxing during the announcement of their deal with the UFC, with FOX Sports Chairman Dave Hill stating during the press conference that, “UFC is relevant. Boxing is one-dimensional, and the UFC is three-dimensional.”
Despite sticking the boot it now turns out that boxing may very well be lining their pockets with advertising revenue due to this deal in the near future.
Watch Arum’s comments about the UFC On FOX show below.