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UFC inks first network TV deal with ION Television for 'UFC 125 Prelims Live'

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ION Television will broadcast three preliminary bouts from Saturday's "UFC 125: Resolution." This marks the UFC's first network TV deal.
ION Television will broadcast three preliminary bouts from Saturday's "UFC 125: Resolution." This marks the UFC's first network TV deal.

The UFC finally announced that three UFC 125 preliminary bouts will be broadcast by a new television partner: ION Television, an over-the-air network available in both standard and high definition.

This will be the UFC's debut on network television.

UFC president Dana White told MMAJunkie.com that the UFC will "roll the dice" and attempt to broadcast three live fights, a welterweight bout between Phil Baroni and Brad Tavares, a lightweight clash between Jeremy Stephens and Marcus Davis and a featherweight fight between No. 1 contender Josh Grispi and Dustin Poirier.

From the report:

According to White, Ion Television is currently available in more than 100 million homes. The UFC boss said he valued the opportunity to bring three highly demanded fights to the masses, especially as fans continually hammer him to make up for some widely criticized previous contests.

"The prelims were not supposed to be aired for this show, but I know the fans are always asking how I'm going to pay them back for some other shows," White said. "Well, here you go. If everything else I do isn't enough, let this one be it.

"These guys are considered a network. The FCC calls them a network. This is the first time we've ever been on network television, and the prelims are going to be aired. It's a big deal. It's in over 100 million homes."

The ION website has "UFC 125: Resolution" on its schedule at 9 p.m. ET. It immediately follows the movie "Timecop."

You can find the local ION affiliate in your area by going to the network's website, iontelevision.com. Here is some information on ION from the network's corporate website:

ION Television reaches over 98 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems. The hybrid broadcast network is available on 59 local television stations and through satellite signal nationwide as a result of carriage by major cable MSOs, DBS and telcos, including Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, EchoStar, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse, as well as niche operators.

UFC 125's main card airs at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view and is headlined by a lightweight championship bout between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.

UFC 125: Resolution

Main Card (10 p.m. ET/Pay-Per-View):
Lightweight Championship: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi

UFC Prelims Live (9 p.m. ET, ION Television):
Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens
Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier
Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares

Preliminary Bouts:
Mike Brown vs. Diego Nunes
Daniel Roberts vs. Greg Soto
Jacob Volkmann vs. Antonio McKee

SBN coverage of UFC 125: Resolution