By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
MMA fans flipping channels on Wednesday night may have been a little confused if they tuned into ESPN2, as the second episode of UFC Primetime: St. Pierre vs. Shields aired on the major sports network at 11PM ET, an hour before it debuted on Spike TV.
The broadcast came with no announcement and wasn’t even on the channel guide, but fans can look forward to the next episode to air on the network as well, as UFC President Dana White has confirmed to multiple outlets that the final program will come to ESPN2, as well as a number of other outlets next week.
White wouldn’t give any more info on whether there is more to the deal with ESPN2 along with airing the Primetime show, but in comments made to MMAJunkie.com he said they simply want more eyeballs on the program.
“We have it on Spike TV, ION Television, Fuel TV, ESPN2 and Versus,” White said. “We have a good relationship with everyone.”
“As we continue to grow, who knows what could happen. ESPN covers sports, and it’s great to see them cover the UFC.”
The UFC Primetime series is following St. Pierre and Shields as they prepare for their UFC 129 title fight in front of 55,000 fans in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Penick’s Analysis: It will be interesting to see what kind of audience they get for the broadcast on ESPN2, especially at an earlier hour. And next week, if fans know it’s on ahead of time prior to the Spike TV broadcast, perhaps they’ll tune in for the ESPN2 one instead. It’s a great thing for the UFC to be on ESPN, and with the troubles facing poker right now with a lot of the televised events having connections to poker sites that are in trouble with the government, it could open up the door for the UFC to have an increased presence on the network.