LAS VEGAS—If you dream of the day when you can fire up your television and watch 22 Fedor Emelianenko fights in a single binge sitting, well, your dream is now a reality.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship Saturday officially launched its new digital distribution network and fight library. Called "UFC Fight Pass," the service allows hardcore fight fans access to many of the greatest fights in the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE, Affliction, WFA, EliteXC and World Extreme Cagefighting libraries.
The announcement was made at a special press conference at the MGM Grand prior to UFC 168, which Bleacher Report attended.
In addition to the ability to watch as many old fights as you want, the promotion will also use the network to air live broadcasts of international events. The promotional has traditionally held international events at non-optimal local times for the benefit of people watching the broadcasts in North America.
With Fight Pass shows, however, the events will be held at normal local times in international markets, and the only way to watch them live in North America is to purchase a FightPass subscription.
FightPass subscribers can tune in to the live shows immediately or at any point during the broadcast. A UFC source told Bleacher Report the entire UFC Fight Pass service will be spoiler free, so fans won't risk ruining events by seeing results of fights that have already happened when they use the service.
Fans will also be able to pick and choose the fights from each event they want to see, so you'll have the option of clicking just the main event or any other fight on the card that interests you. You'll have to wait until the conclusion of the event to have that option with all the fights, but it will serve as an interesting way to skip entire preliminary cards that may not interest you.
UFC sources also told us that the international shows will be of a much quicker pace than North American broadcasts as well, with little to no dead time between the fights. There will generally be a maximum of two minutes between each fight, and typically far less, which means cards won't drag out and take an entire day.
FightPass also includes curated video playlists created by UFC fighters and Hall of Famers. The first offerings include a playlist of all UFC heavyweight title fights, Matt Hughes' favorite fights from Hall of Famers, "Chael Sonnen's American Gangsters" and more. This content will be sporadically changed.
Subscribers can also watch every single episode of The Ultimate Fighter, including all Brazilian and other international versions of the show.
Fights that have long been considered death to UFC history—such as the legendary battle between Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz from UFC 22—are also included.
"It's not that I'm relenting (on letting Shamrock's fights be shown," White told Bleacher Report. "It's that this service is for fight fans, and all of the fights in our library are there."
The service will cost $9.99 beginning on March 1, but a free trial is currently underway. It is currently only available through UFC.tv, but UFC executives told Bleacher Report it will soon be available on iOS, Android and Blackberry mobile devices, in addition to XBox One, XBox 360, Roku, Apple TV and Samsung Smart TV's.
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