The Ultimate Fighting Championship® and FOX teamed up for a media conference call Wednesday with UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White, as well as FOX Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill, FOX Sports Co-President Eric Shanks and FUELTV General Manager George Greenberg.
In addition, the UFC held a press conference in Los Angeles that featured White, heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and number one contender Junior dos Santos.
UFC on FOX® airs live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Saturday.
Below are flash quotes from today’s events:
DAVID HILL on expected ratings and the anticipation for Saturday’s heavyweight title fight:
“You never rattle the cages of the ratings gods, but we expect to be pleasantly surprised on Sunday morning.”
“We’re obviously stoked (to have this event on FOX). We’re all huge boxing fans and I think with the death of Joe Frazier, it made people realize that everyone remembers what a great boxer and competitor he was, and the will to win Joe Frazier had. Everyone started talking about the golden days of boxing and what happened to it. To be coming back on primetime with a fight like this, it’s kinda of like the dawn of a new era. It’s like a phoenix coming from the ashes.”
“What boxing was to my generation, UFC is to my son’s. By the end of these seven years, UFC will be mainstream.”
DANA WHITE on his expectations for Saturday night and the chance to work with FOX executives:
“These guys are the best at what they do. David Hill has revolutionized sports. We’d be crazy not to want FOX’s input (on production and the broadcast).”
“No matter what, you know we’re going to deliver. We’re on FOX – the biggest, baddest network on the planet. We couldn’t ask for anything more. This is a dream come true.”
WHITE on the magnitude of the fight:
“This is without a doubt the biggest fight in UFC history. This thing started as a small fringe sport and has grown to what it is today. This Saturday night as we step out onto FOX, millions of people will see UFC who’ve never watched before. As we take this step forward into what we call ‘mainstream,’ we were much more fortunate in that we were able to hand pick a fight that we wanted to put on FOX. If I had to do it all over again, this is still the fight I’d pick to put on network television.”
ERIC SHANKS on the atmosphere at the FOX offices once the UFC deal was announced:
“The day that we signed the deal – I didn’t know it at the time – but I found out that every person at FOX is a UFC fan. People were high-fiving me at the office. That place hasn’t been more pumped since we signed the deal.”
“It’s a coming out party for UFC on FOX (on Saturday) and it’s a coming out party for FUEL.”
GEORGE GREENBERG on UFC’s presence on FUEL TV:
“In general, about 25 percent of our programming pie will be dedicated to UFC. Over 2,000 hours of UFC programs. We’ll have at least 100 hours of live programming. We get all the shoulder programming, whether it’s ‘Primetime,’ ‘Countdown,’ ‘Best of,’ and we have access to the PRIDE library.”
“As we expose a brand new audience to the MMA world, this thing is going to explode. It’s going to be represented in primetime, on late night, on the weekends. It will be the wind in our sails for sure.”
CAIN VELASQUEZ on his thoughts about the fight and the support he’s received from the Mexican fans:
“From both of us, we have exciting fighting styles. We don’t go out there and put on boring fights. We’re both going to go forward. That’s what fans are going to see, that’s what people who haven’t seen this before are going to see on Saturday.”
“I want to represent hard working people. Whether in training or in the fight, it’s good to know I have people supporting me and it makes me work harder and train harder. I always want to go out there and represent them well. I appreciate the support from the Mexican fans and fans all over.”
JUNIOR DOS SANTOS on his thoughts about the fight:
“I feel really excited, but no pressure. It’s the same pressure I felt in my last fight. This is huge for me and I want to enjoy it and I will.
“Cain has amazing stamina. I think in this case, Cain Velasquez is the number one heavyweight now. I want to change this on Saturday. It’s going to be a great fight and a war. I think a lot of people are going to be rooting for him on Saturday night, but I know I’ll have a lot of people rooting for me around the world. I’ll use that energy on Saturday night”
“I will give my best to make this belt a Brazilian belt. I’m ready to go five rounds, but I think this fight finishes before.”
For more information, or current UFC fight news, visit UFC.com. All bouts live and subject to change.
About Ultimate Fighting Championship®
Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, and headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., UFC® is the world’s premier MMA organization and produces over 12 UFC live Pay-Per-View events annually around the globe. UFC content is distributed commercially through Joe Hand Promotions in the U.S. Beginning November 12, 2011 FOX will broadcast four fights annually. In spring 2012, The Ultimate Fighter®, UFC’s signature weekly reality TV show debuts on FX. Globally, UFC programming is broadcast in over 132 countries and territories, reaching 597 million homes worldwide, in 21 different languages.
UFC® also boasts a powerful presence online, with UFC.com attracting over seven million unique visitors per month, while also possessing one of the most powerful social media followings in all of professional sports. To date, UFC has over six million fans on Facebook and over 300,000 followers on Twitter. In addition, UFC President Dana White is one of the most accessible and most followed executives in sports with nearly 1.7 million followers on Twitter. On January 22, 2011, UFC continued to set trends in social media, becoming the first major sports league to stream live, broadcast quality action on Facebook.
Ancillary businesses include best-selling DVDs, a bimonthly magazine, the best-selling UFC “Undisputed” videogame franchise distributed by THQ, UFC GYM®, UFC Fight Club affinity program, UFC Fan Expo® festivals, branded apparel, trading cards, and articulated action figures.
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For more on the UFC or UFC: VELASQUEZ VS. DOS SANTOS, visit www.UFC.com