By: R Eric Ellison
When I first got FightPass from the UFC, like many longtime fans out there, I was pretty disappointed. Most of us are looking at these fights up for sale and thinking “Don’t I already have this on DVD?” Is a giant UFC library and 9.99 cards sweet, hell yes. Still, many of the more long term fans were left wondering in the early stages if this was all. Eventually the concept evolved to include prelims and even some killer fights like Gustafsson Vs Manuwa to beef up reasons to subscribe.
Now, entire cards are being aired live on FightPass that have the same quality as many of the UFC on FOX events, and the horizon seems bright finally for users. Recently the UFC acquired Invicta, and the next show (Invicta 8) will air entirely on FightPass. So did Fight Night 51 on September 13th, which was headlined by an epic match between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and the newly returned Andrei Arlovski. The rest of the line up was solid as well, with appearances by Rani Yahya, Efrain Escudero, Gleison Tibau, Paulo Thiago and more.
The actual interface and use of FightPass is alright. Having to go back to the UFC homepage after watching any video is aggravating, and search navigation seems to be lacking any sort of logical filter. Type in “UFC 8″ and it will pull up any UFC event with an 8 in it. The fights have no order to them when you pull up lists many times, and PPV events are bombarded with preview clips. For example, you can type in an event you want to watch, and 10 hype videos and weigh ins all pop up before the actual PPV itself does. Not the biggest issue in the universe, but with all those Zuffa Dollars on hand, you’d think they would have the PPVs pop up first.
FightPass still has a ways to go, and I’m not exactly sure what the UFC has planned for it in the long run, or if they even know. Right now Zuffa is sort of attempting to “force” fans hands by headlining FightPass events with must-sees. However, in the near future I think it will become a sort of “breeding ground” for up and coming fighters, especially the womens divisions. I hope they move away from dotting FightPass only cards with a single head turning fight or two, and get it up to a consistant par with at least the UFC on FOX events.
All in all FightPass is not back, especially for newcomers to the sport. Zuffa packs a lot of history into one realm, and that access is fantastic for those who want to go back and appreciate or learn the old school legends. Hardcore fans too will be brought in because they simply can’t miss fights like Bigfoot Vs Arlovski. The UFC has done a good job of constantly improving the FightPass, and with a few more tweeks, it could really become a mecca of activity for them. Same for fans, so go ahead and try it now for free and see what you think about the UFCs latest MMA domination venture.
(Photo courtesy of Getty)