You will be forgiven if you do not realise that the first UFC event of 2014 is on this Saturday. UFC Fight Night 34 is coming all the way from the independent state of Singapore in Asia.
This event is kicking off the busiest year in UFC history. It will be a year that will involve 50+ event across the globe along with a number of series of TUF based in different continents. Yes that is a lot of fights! I like watching fights, I like going to local shows to watch amateurs and I like watching fights on TV from anywhere in the world I can find them.
A lot of people are complaining about over saturation, people expect to have notable fighters on each fight card top to bottom but under this new expansion you will not get that. The ‘numbered’ and ‘FOX’ cards will be the main events for the UFC and the casual fans and the ‘Fight Night’ cards will feature a few notable names and then newcomers/prospects looking to earn their way up the ladder of the UFC.
But is this Fight Night 34 card setting a precedent of what to expect from these cards? A total of 15 fighters are making their UFC debuts (although one is former Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine), that means an incredible 75% are newcomers. Of the 5 fighters who have fought in the UFC how many are notable…maybe Max Holloway just because he fought the red-hot Conor McGregor last.
I have no problem in this set-up for a card, I am still interested in watching and seeing what these new fighters have to offer plus I welcome any opportunity to see Asian fighters compete.
So where is the problem?
When I found out the UFC are expecting fans in the UK and Ireland to pay to watch this event that’s when I started to have the problem. Fight fans pay a monthly subscription already to watch the UFC and now they plan to charge fight fans for an obscure event like Singapore.
I could understand if this was included in a “free trial” launch for the UFC Fight Pass, as it is in those regions that do have access, but that isn’t available here until March. So why charge the fans for the very first event of the year especially for a card that simply doesn’t warrant it, the casual fan would roll their eyes at and if that event happened in the UK the forums would explode with people complaining.
I enjoy watching the ‘smaller’ cards and seeing new fighters enter but not when I have to pay extra for it. Why should I and many others be punished for being hard-core fight fans.
If for some reason you do want to buy the event you can do so here.
(UPDATED) UK and Ireland fans complained in numbers about the fee imposed and BT SPORTS will now be showing UFC Fight Night 34 this Saturday at 9pm. The card will be shown live at 11am on the above link at UFC.tv but you would still have to pay to watch it live. The rest of the world all still applies as it is available on Fight Pass.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Sean Soriano
Luiz Dutra vs. Kiichi Kunimoto
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Shunichi Shimizu
Max Holloway vs. Will Chope
Katsunori Kikuno vs. Quinn Mulhern
David Galera vs. Royston Wee
Tae Hyun Bang vs. Mairbek Taisumov
Dustin Kimura vs. Jon Delos Reyes
Russell Doane vs. Leandro Issa