FOX Sports 1 announces three live UFC events

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

FOX Sports 1 on Thursday announced its first-day schedule for Saturday, Aug. 17, with seven-and-a-half hours of UFC programming, plus two additional live Wednesday night shows.

For Sports announced coverage plans for its first three UFC live shows on its new all-sports network Thursday.

UFC coverage will take up seven-and-a-half consecutive hours, including all of prime time, on the launch date of Fox Sports 1, on Saturday, Aug. 17.

In addition, rumored plans of Wednesday being UFC destination night on the station seem to be confirmed with live events announced for Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, as well as The Ultimate Fighter reality show having a 10 p.m. Wednesday night time slot debuting on the latter date.

The Wednesday night block allows the company to finally, after more than a dozen years, complete one of UFC president Dana White's original goals for the company of having a weekly national prime time presence. Before anyone had though of the idea of Ultimate Fighter, White's goal was to have a weekly UFC show patterned after "Tuesday Night Fights," which aired on the USA Network from 1982 to 1998. The idea is the weekly fight show would help expose and build future superstars, whose big fights would then air on pay-per-view.

There won't be live fights every Wednesday, but there will be UFC programming in prime time every Wednesday night and live fights on a regular basis.

The Aug. 17 show will be UFC's second event ever at the T.D. Garden in Boston. The only fight announced thus far on the show pits former welterweight title contender Thiago Alves (19-9) against Matt Brown (17-11). White in the past has said this would be end up the strongest television fight card the company has put on.

UFC programming on the inaugural day of the station will begin at 3:30 p.m., with Ultimate Insider, followed by Unleashed at 4 p.m., the new one-hour version of UFC Tonight at 5 p.m., and five hours of live fights from Boston from 6-11 p.m.

The live fights will be broken down as two shows. The first two hours will be called "FOX UFC Saturday Prelims," with the 8-11 p.m. time slot called "FOX UFC Saturday."

UFC officials have said the company wants to get away from the awkward sounding "UFC on FOX Sports 1 1."

"We've been working for months now, but a lot has come together in the time since we officially unveiled our plans for the launch of FOX Sports 1 in March," said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports Co-President and Chief Operating Officer. "The programming schedule has been solidified, and we really come out of the gate incredibly strong from Day 1."

The first live Wednesday night show will be on Aug. 28, airing from 8-11 p.m. The location of the show has not been announced.

The second Wednesday event will be Sept. 4., with a live fight card airing from 8-10 p.m., followed by the one-hour debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 18.

It is expected the Sept. 4 event will be UFC's first event ever from Brasilia, Brazil.

The Wednesday 10 p.m. slot on FOX Sports 1 will be the permanent slot for the 18th season of the UFC's flagship reality show. This will be the first season of men and women living in the same house, as well as the first season with female coaches, current women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, and Cat Zingano, her next scheduled opponent.

White confirmed that UFC Tonight will be expanding from its former 30 minutes weekly on Fuel to a one hour format on FOX Sports 1.

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