“UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields” Will Serve as Guinea Pig for New Pay-Per-View Start Time

Written by Tom Ngo
March 8th, 2011

UFC Georges St Pierre Jake Shields Aldo 129 Poster

In a bold move to ensure fight fans catch enough sleep to make Sunday morning mass, the UFC will test out an earlier 9PM ET/6PM PT start time for their live pay-per-view broadcasts. According to the card’s official event page, “UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields” on April 30th will serve as the company’s guinea pig show.

Practically all of the Octagon’s PPVs have aired at 10PM ET/7PM PT, including UFC 127 which took place in Australia last month. Some overseas shows have also been offered via same-day tape-delay, but to marginal success.

While the move could be one-and-done depending upon the outcome, whoever thought of the idea certainly hedged their bet by linking up with the largest live MMA scrap in North American history. A whopping 55,000 screaming Canadians will pack the Rogers Centre in Toronto for UFC 129, so imagine how many around the world will be paying to watch Georges St-Pierre defend his welterweight crown against Jake Shields.

The news comes as a welcomed surprise for most media outlets, who often find themselves scrambling to meet deadlines because of the events’ late endings. A typical PPV broadcast will run well past midnight on the east coast.

Furthermore, the post-fight press conference is where most of the goods are offered up. Tacking on an additional 90 minutes for follow-up notes and quotes isn’t out of the norm.

Unfortunately, the costs of the pay-per-views remain the same at $44.95 (+$10 in HD*).

UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones” on March 19th will start at 10PM ET/7PM PT.

Here is the official roster for UFC 129:

Preliminary Bouts:

John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin

(Spike TV 8PM ET/9PM PT)

Brian Foster vs. Sean Pierson
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald

Main Bouts:
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Mark Hominick vs. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion)
Jake Shields vs. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion)

* – DirecTV charges an additional $10 for high-definition. Do your providers do that, too?

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