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Zuffa launches UFC Fight Pass as part of globalization efforts

Mark Nolan

LAS VEGAS – On Saturday afternoon, before the UFC 168 prelims kicked off, the UFC officially announced the launch of its new digital product, the UFC Fight Pass, a subscription-based online service that Lorenzo Fertitta described as "Netflix for the fight fan."

The new service will fall under the UFC.TV domain, and as part of the familiarization process the UFC’s Chief Content Officer Marshall announced that there will be a free trial phase, which extends to March 1. After that time, the monthly price for the service will be $9.99.

The catalyst to launch the new digital product was to access parts of the globe that had hitherto challenging. In doing so, the live events will occur in prime time in whichever time zone they are in for the convenience of the fans in that country, rather than catering to North American audiences. As such, International series events in North America will air at odd hours, but are real time encoded, so you can start at the live moment or back at the beginning of the event. All fights automatically become available on demand from there.

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In 2014, Zelaznik said that the UFC will have ten "International fight nights," in Asia and Europe, which will be shown exclusively through the UFC Fight Pass (roughly 150 live fights). The first event will occur on January 4, in Marina Bay, Singapore, when reigning Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffeidine headlines against Hyun Gyu Lim.

Zelaznik also said that the March 8 England card, which features bouts between Alexander Gustafsson versus Jimi Manuwa and Ross Pearson against Melvin Guillard, will be shown on UFC Fight Pass. UFC president Dana White added that The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 coaches, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, would fight exclusively on the service. Headlines of this magnitude are to be the norm going forward.

As part of the package deal with the subscription service, fans will have access to the entire library of over 3,000 UFC fights going back to the beginning, including "the dark ages fights," according to White. As part of the consolidation, more than 500 Pride fights will be available, as well as hundreds of WEC, Strikeforce, Affliction, WFA, and EliteXC bouts.

"It will be a vibrant experience," Zelaznik said.

UFC Fight Pass kicks off in the English speaking countries of North America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, with plans to launch into the European theater sometime in March.

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