Big news for UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers in 2015...
LAS VEGAS, January 3 - A year after its launch, UFC FIGHT PASS isn’t resting on its laurels, as UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik announced Saturday that the UFC’s digital streaming service has obtained the rights to the fight archives of eight more mixed martial arts organizations, adding approximately 6,500 hours and over 13,000 fights to a library that already includes the archives of several prominent MMA promotions.
Not a bad way to celebrate an anniversary.
“For FIGHT PASS, the prognosis is nothing but blue skies,” Zelaznik said. “We had very aggressive expectations about FIGHT PASS as we modeled it out before we launched it and we've exceeded even the most aggressive goals that we set. We know we've got a product that people like and we have a great team that's helping to support that within the company. This has become a passion project for a lot of people, so FIGHT PASS is in good hands with the group that is operating it, and it's going to be here for a long, long time.”
The new adds are game changers, with the following libraries being added to a collection that already includes the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, WFA, PRIDE FC, EliteXC, Affliction, Invicta FC:
Cage Rage (UK)
Extreme Challenge MMA (US)
Hook N Shoot (US)
King of the Cage (US)
For diehard fight fans, as well as newer followers of the sport, these promotions have delivered bouts from the formative years of such UFC superstars as Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes, Michael Bisping, and Rampage Jackson, just to name a few. Want to see why Bas Rutten was so good, go watch his fights in Pancrase. Ever hear of the reverse elbow Anderson Silva finished Tony Fryklund with before coming to the UFC, check out Cage Rage 16. What about the epic fights between Yves Edwards and Aaron Riley? Hook N Shoot has the answers.
“FIGHT PASS should be the tool that allows people to know more about the sport, discover the sport, discover new aspects of it, and if you buy into that theory, then it becomes obvious that we had to go out and get more content so that people can learn more about their favorite fighters or favorite events,” Zelaznik said, and despite the aforementioned libraries, exclusive documentaries and content, as well as live fight cards already having a home on UFC FIGHT PASS, after seeing the positive reaction to the introduction of Invicta FC to the service, the quest for more content began.
“When we put the Invicta library up, and then we had the live events, there was such an interest in that content that it really started our wheels turning as to whether or not there was room for other libraries,” he said. “And we started out thinking, 'all right, there's a lot of libraries out there, what do we focus on?' I went to (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and asked him what the big MMA libraries out there were worth chasing that he thought would bring value to people who are subscribers or that would potentially bring in new subscribers. And he gave me a list.”
With the list in hand, Zelaznik’s next step was finding out who owned the libraries and securing the rights. That’s not always the easiest process, but all’s well that ends well.
“The Invicta deal did a lot of things,” he explains. “It showed to us that there was interest in a lot of promotions, which wasn't really a big surprise, but a little bit in terms of what the usage was on it. And what Invicta did is cause a lot of promotions to reach out to us; we didn't have to go and chase a lot of them. Some of them we did, some of them we went and looked for and found, and some of these libraries have been through a couple of hands and we had to find out who the rightful owner was. So some had their challenges, some were very tricky to negotiate, but if any promotion wants their content in a place where it can be seen by true fans, FIGHT PASS is a great outlet. It wasn't difficult, but it takes time.”
And while the catchphrase for the upcoming slate of UFC fight events is “THE TIME IS NOW,” these new fights will take a little longer to get into subscribers’ hands, with uploading of tens of thousands of tapes and hard drive content to take place throughout the year, with the first bouts to be available in the spring. But the good news is that despite all the added content, the monthly subscription price will remain unchanged.
“We don't have any plans to raise the price, we are just looking to add more and more value to FIGHT PASS,” Zelaznik said, excited about the ability to chronicle an entire sport’s history and put it a click away on a fight fan’s home computer, laptop, or smart phone.
“That's one of the things FIGHT PASS will eventually morph into,” he said. “It will be a place where you can see the full anthology of someone's career over time. It's not going to happen overnight, as there's a lot of content out there and priorities to chase, but imagine if it was (NFL great) Emmitt Smith, and you got to see him in Pop Warner, high school, college and then see some of his great runs in the NFL. That would be a very unique offer for someone who's an Emmitt Smith fan. That's what we want to try and bring for people.”