ANAHEIM, California — The preliminary fights for UFC 242 on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, will begin much earlier than usual. But they can be found on a familiar network.
Because of a conflict with the first major weekend of college football on ESPN and ESPN2, the network made the decision for this card only to put the prelims on FX. The UFC put fights on FX, as well as its reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” when the network was owned by Fox.
FX is now in the Disney family after having been acquired in a deal with Fox. The decision was made to put the preliminaries for UFC 242 on FX because of the conflicts with college football and because of MMA fans’ familiarity with the network.
The preliminaries will be on much earlier than usual, going from 12-2 p.m. ET on Sept. 7.
The pay-per-view portion of the card, which is headlined by a lightweight title unification bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Dustin Poirier, will be on ESPN+, as has been the case for all pay-per-view events since the ESPN-UFC partnership that began this year.
UFC 242: Khabib v Poirier to be broadcast free-to-air on Russian state ‘First Channel’ The much-anticipated UFC lightweight title showdown between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7 will be available to Russian audiences free of charge on the state ‘First Channel.’
The Russian champion’s first title defense since last year’s victory (and subsequent suspension) against Conor McGregor is already guaranteed to be one of the year’s most-watched fights, but that potential audience has now expanded even further, as RT Sport learned that Russia-wide channel Pervy Kanal (First Channel) will broadcast the event free-to-air.
The channel claims a total global audience of around 250 million and is expected to draw a massive viewing audience given Nurmagomedov’s huge popularity in his home country.
Previously UFC cards that featured Nurmagomedov were broadcast on Match TV, which is also free-to-air, but UFC 242 being aired on Pervy Kanal represents an entry into a much more diverse, mainstream audience than before.
Since the establishment of UFC Russia last year, UFC cards are aired in Russia via Cable Vision, which operates under a monthly subscription service.
Another benefit to the Russian audience will be the fact that only one hour’s time difference between Abu Dhabi and Moscow will mean a far more palatable start time for the card, as most events taking place in the United States begin around 3am in Russia’s capital city.
A significant audience is expected to tune in to UFC 242 to see Nurmagomedov defend his title against the significant challenge that his opponent, Dustin Poirier, represents. That viewing figure could swell further if former champion Conor McGregor attends the event, as is rumored.