Fox Sports wants to compete directly with ESPN, and one of the staples of its plan will be its UFC programming.
Cain Velasquez, Bruce Buffer and Anderson Silva pose for a photo Tuesday. (Getty)Tuesday's announcement of the creation and Aug. 17 launch of Fox Sports 1, which will feature Major League Baseball, soccer, college football and basketball and NASCAR in addition to the UFC, is the culmination of Dana White's dreams.
For more than two years since announcing his company's broadcast partnership with Fox Sports, the UFC president has alluded to a game-changing moment coming down the road.
On Tuesday, when that game-changer became a reality, White was literally giddy.
"This is such a great day for us, I can't even begin to tell you," White said over and over during a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. "This is a massive step. I said a year-and-a-half ago when we did this deal that our next two years of work would be more important than the first 13. And now, it's always clicking and all becoming a reality."
After a Fox-run news conference in New York on Tuesday to announce FS1, White, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, middleweight champion Anderson Silva and women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey were brought on stage and introduced to 1,300 major advertisers.
It was the kind of exposure White could only dream of less than a decade before. But now, here were executives from some of the world's most familiar brands roaring like fan boys when Velasquez, Silva and Rousey were introduced.
It sent a powerful visual, with a black man, a Hispanic man and a white woman being received so well by potential advertisers and sponsors: The UFC cuts across all races and genders.
Eric Shanks, the Fox Sports Media Group's COO and co-president, shared his vision of FS1 with White and his partners, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta when they first began to discuss a partnership.
The launch of FS1 will allow viewers to find virtually all UFC programming in one place. As the first year of the UFC-Fox partnership played out, they had to deal with the fallout from the promotion's former broadcast deal with Spike, as well as educate fans on which of the Fox networks would carry which shows.
Now, with the exception of the four cards a year that will appear on the broadcast network Fox, all UFC programming will be found on FS1.