‘UFC 200’ Was to Pack A Pixel Punch on DirecTV

DirecTV was poised to accomplish several firsts through its distribution of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 200 pay-per-view event this past Saturday (July 9). It was set to be the satellite service’s first-ever 4K telecast of a pay-per-event event and the first sporting event its Audience Network original programming channel had sponsored directly.

DirecTV viewers with 4K capable set-tops or compatible Sony TV sets would be able to order what was billed as the UFC’s biggest PPV card ever for $10 more than the traditional $54.95 high-definition feed, DirecTV senior vice president of content operations John Ward told The Wire.

DirecTV, the biggest U.S. pay TV provider, has offered live professional golf tournaments and baseball games in 4K, but UFC 200 takes the commitment to offering premiere 4K programming to the next level, Ward said.

DirecTV also touted sophomore mixed martial arts-themed series Kingdom at UFC 200. The Audience Network series, about a family-owned mixed martial arts gym and starring Nick Jonas, Frank Grillo and Kiele Sanchez, was to be showcased at the steps of Caesar’s Palace at the event's host city Las Vegas, and on the bumpers around the UFC octagon ring. UFC legend Chuck Liddell was lined up to take over the @KingdomAudience twitter feed.

Bells and whistles aside, the buildup to UFC 200 suffered a body blow late last week when the main-event fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier was pulled from the card after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reported that Jones tested positive for a performance enhancing substance.

The UFC on Thursday (July 7) said in a statement there was “insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.