12-28-2010, 11:20 AM
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| | UFC officially announces Ion Television to carry three UFC 125 prelim bouts
UFC officially announces Ion Television to carry three UFC 125 prelim bouts | MMAjunkie.com
Ion Television is now officially the UFC's newest broadcast partner. |
UFC brass today announced that a trio of UFC 125 fights will air live on the network on Jan. 1 at 8:55 p.m. ET/5:55 p.m. PT.
"I am excited for our fans because Iíve been looking for ways to broadcast UFC prelims free and to as many homes as possible," UFC president Dana White stated in today's release. "Ion is the largest broadcast television station group in the U.S., and this deal will put the UFC prelims in almost 100 million homes."
MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) first reported the deal on Monday night.
Featuring a lightweight title fight between current champion Frankie Edgar and top challenger Gray Maynard, "UFC 125: Resolution" takes place Jan. 1 and airs live on pay-per-view.
Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens, Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier and Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares will be featured on the Ion Television broadcast.
The New Year's Day broadcast marks the first time the UFC has guaranteed three fights on a preliminary card broadcast. On Monday, UFC president Dana White said he knew he was making a risky move, but he was exciting at the prospect of an action-packed special.
"The prelims we do air, there's only supposed to be two," White said. "Time-wise, it's impossible to pull off three if they all go to the distance. I'm going to roll the dice on this thing."
Ion Television, which was launched in 1998 as PAX TV, was rebranded as Ion Television in 2007. The channel was also known as i from 2005 to 2007.
It's unknown if the new deal extends beyond the UFC 125 broadcast, but White seemed optimistic the network may carry future UFC programming, as well.
"We're going to talk to these guys and see what's up," White said. "This might be a regular thing.
"Listen, it's a ballsy move to go on network with prelims, but the Ion guys are the real deal. We're going to see if we can make it happen with them."
With the official announcement, the UFC 125 lineup now includes:
Champ Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard (for lightweight title)
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Takanori Gomi vs. Clay Guida
PRELIMINARY CARD (Ion Television)
Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens
Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier
Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)
Mike Brown vs. Diego Nunes
Daniel Roberts vs. Greg Soto
Antonio McKee vs. Jacob Volkmann
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