The UFC and Spike TV’s “UFC Primetime: St-Pierre vs Penn,” collaboration series will be making its debut Wednesday. will to help promote the January 31st super-fight. It will begin this Wednesday at 10:30PM local time and feature three, 30-minute episodes airing every Wednesday leading up to their highly anticipated rematch on January 31st.
The UFC is hoping to duplicate the success that boxing experienced when they ran a similar show on HBO. “De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7” was created to generate greater interest for boxing’s biggest fight in years. It apparently worked, as the May 2007 bout earned 2.4 million pay-per-view buys, breaking all previous records.
“This is the biggest fight the UFC has ever promoted, and we knew that both the personalities and the story lines would make for a great show,” said Craig Borsari, the UFC’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Production. “In UFC Primetime, the viewer will see the fighters in situations we’ve never seen them in before. We typically spend three days with a fighter for a normal Countdown show. For this series we’re spending 25 days with each fighter. That gives us the ability to get more spontaneous moments with the fighters. The storytelling will be different also. The viewer will get a much deeper understanding of who these fighters are and what makes them tick.”
The GSP/Penn II fight will be the biggest fight in MMA history, at least the UFC has promoting it as such, and “UFC Primetime” is certainly no exception. It is likely that this bout UFC 94 will challenge UFC 66 “Liddell vs. Ortiz II,” as the promotion’s top gate revenue earner. The previous record gate of $5,397,300 was set back in December of 2006.
“Both fighters have been great in giving us all access to their camps,” said Borsari last week. “We’ve captured some great moments already and we aren’t even a quarter of the way done with shooting.”
St-Pierre is the current welterweight champion, and is the class of the division. He previously defeated Penn at UFC 58 in March of 2006 in a closely contested battle. Many thought that Penn inflicted more damage throughout the fight, however it was GSP that walked away with the split decision victory.
Penn has since dropped down to the lightweight division, dominating everyone in his way. Although he is the division’s champion, he was more than happy to make the move back up to 170-pounds to try and avenge his loss to the French-Canadian.
“In this show we’re not going to spend a lot of time explaining where these guys came from,” said Borsari. “This show is about being in the moment with each fighter. The viewer will understand who the fighter is by the end of the series and will hopefully develop a deeper interest in one or both of the fighters.”
“UFC Primetime: St-Pierre vs. Penn” will serve as the guinea pig, in what the UFC and Spike TV hope to come in a long line of future series of the show, as its future will depend upon how fans accept it.
“We’ll see how this one goes, but if it’s as successful as we anticipate, then it’s likely you will see a couple of these a year,” Borsari stated.