I’m always happy to give credit where it’s due and today BT Sport renewed a chunk of my faith in their commitment to MMA (well, UFC but at this level the terms are interchangeable) by confirming that they will show Saturday’s UFC Fight Night Singapore event, albeit on a few hours tape delay starting at 9pm.
The tape delay could be construed to be an annoyance, but in fairness it keeps everybody happy as it allows the UFC to charge for the live event on ufc.tv (although I’d be astonished if anyone aside from dedicated journalists buy it), it allows BT Sport to stick with their preferred daytime lineup – let’s be honest, the weakest UFC card in a while isn’t gonna draw them more viewers than FA Cup football, NBA basketball or top level rugby, is it? – and we still get some MMA action on our screens at a relatively decent time of night.
All credit goes to BT Sport for moving quickly to placate the ruffled feathers of UFC fans in the UK and facilitating an outcome which is acceptable to all, although it has to be said that the UFC haven’t come out of this episode with shining colours as their attitude towards the UK and European markets has shown we are very much an afterthought.
I have two questions…
Why don’t we have access to the free Fight Pass trial and can anyone confirm whether we’ll be able to watch the upcoming London card on BT Sport?
Aside from all that, and the fact that this is the least marketable UFC card I can remember, it’s still well worth a watch and not just because it’s MMA on your TV (which is usually reason enough for me.)
Here’s Five Reasons To Watch
(they all happen to be fighters you should be interested in)
The last ever Strikeforce champion makes his UFC debut almost a year removed from his title winning effort against Nate Marquardt, looking to make up for lost time and stake his claim as a top contender in the now wide-open Welterweight division.
A well rounded fighter with quality grappling and striking skills and some impressive international experience, Saffiedine is definitely one to watch.
Hyun Gyu Lim
Stepping up as a late replacement for Jake Ellenberger, Korea’s Lim is riding a seven fight win streak including two stoppage victories in the UFC and a Fight of the Night award in his last bout against Pascal Krauss.
Almost an opposite to fellow Korean 170lber Dong Hyun Kim, Lim is a finisher with 13 stoppage conclusions in his 15 fights.
For so long the #2 Lightweight in Asia behind Shinya Aoki, Kawajiri has dropped to Featherweight and makes his UFC debut on a five fight win streak, including victories over standouts like Joachim Hansen and Michuhiro Omigawa.
‘Crusher’ could easily become a major player in the UFC’s featherweight division, so keep an eye out.
The UFC’s first ever Singaporean fighter is remarkable more in his apparent unworthiness for the accolade, with his two professional fights earning him two first round submission victories… against fighters with a total combined record of 0-3.
Of course, you can only read so much into a fighter’s record but there is a strong sense that Wee is here as a token local. That said, he could be a complete prodigy and make every Western MMA blogger and journalist look like a tool, starting tomorrow.
The fact that his name sounds like a public order offence in the the north of Glasgow is neither here nor there…
Ok, my real fifth reason is that watching the show will confirm to BT Sport (and other broadcasters) that there is a serious demand for MMA programming in the UK, solidifying BT Sport’s commitment to the UFC deal and perhaps inspiring other channel’s to take a look at other promotions for broadcast…