What's the Difference between UFC Fight Night and numbered UFC Events?

What's the Difference between UFC Fight Night and numbered UFC Events?

While you're watching UFC on TV today, you'll typically come across two kinds of events: UFC Fight Night and numbered UFC events. When you're keen on fighting on TV, it's essential to understand the distinction between these two types of UFC events.

Key Takeaways:

  • UFC Fight Night features rising stars and is available on ESPN+.
  • Numbered UFC events are pay-per-view, showcasing title fights, and big-name fighters.
  • Key differences include viewing platform, cost, fight significance, and frequency.

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UFC's Journey to a Global Sports Phenomenon

The UFC has been on an impressive journey since its inception, evolving from a single pay-per-view event in 1993 to a global sports phenomenon. Today, it produces over 40 live events annually and is broadcast in over 129 countries and territories, reaching 900 million TV households worldwide.

The UFC on TV includes two types of events: UFC Fight Night and numbered UFC events. Both these events offer distinct viewing experiences, catering to different audiences and providing diverse fight cards.

UFC Fight Night: A Spotlight for Rising Stars

UFC Fight Night, a regular program on ESPN+, provides a platform for promising fighters to showcase their skills. Although the event started as a finale to the reality TV show, UFC Ultimate Fighter, it has now become a standalone event, serving as a breeding ground for new talent.

Features of UFC Fight Night

UFC Fight Night events primarily feature fighters who are climbing the UFC ranks. While these events occasionally host well-known mid-tier fighters, it's rare to see a major star like Conor McGregor fighting on UFC Fight Night. These events essentially serve three purposes:

  1. As a Launchpad: UFC Fight Night provides upcoming fighters an opportunity to introduce themselves to a wider audience, grow their fan base, and gain momentum.
  2. As a Talent Scout: These events allow Dana White, the UFC president, to identify promising fighters who have the potential to become future stars.
  3. As a Marketing Tool: UFC Fight Night plays a crucial role in promoting upcoming numbered events by featuring interviews with the headline fighters.

UFC Fight Night is accessible to all ESPN+ subscribers, which costs around $69.99 a year. However, it's important to note that these events do not include title fights or the sport's biggest names.

Numbered UFC Events: The Ultimate Fight Experience

Numbered or pay-per-view (PPV) UFC events are grand spectacles that draw millions of viewers worldwide. They are typically headlined by title fights and feature the biggest stars in the sport.

Features of Numbered UFC Events

Numbered UFC events are more significant than Fight Nights for the following reasons:

  1. Star Power: These events feature renowned fighters, ensuring high-profile bouts.
  2. Title Fights: Almost all numbered events host at least one title fight, which may or may not headline the event.
  3. Hype and Marketing: The UFC uses Fight Night events to build hype and anticipation for these numbered events, resulting in increased PPV sales.

Numbered UFC events are essential for the UFC's business model. With an average of 12 events per year and each event costing around $69.99, PPV sales form a significant part of the UFC's revenue stream.

UFC Fight Night vs. Numbered UFC Events: The Key Differences

When comparing UFC Fight Night to numbered UFC events, the most notable differences lie in the viewing platform, price, fight importance, and event regularity.

  • Viewing Platform: UFC Fight Night is available to anyone with an ESPN+ subscription, whereas numbered events are exclusively available on PPV.
  • Price: The cost of an ESPN+ subscription, which includes UFC Fight Night, is $69.99 per year. On the other hand, each numbered event costs $69.99.
  • Fight Importance: Numbered events often host title fights and significant matches, while UFC Fight Nights focus on showcasing up-and-coming fighters.
  • Event Regularity: UFC Fight Nights are a fairly regular occurrence, happening almost weekly in the lead up to a PPV event. Numbered events occur less frequently, averaging about once a month.

UFC Fight Pass: Don't Miss a Single Event

The UFC Fight Pass, often dubbed the "Netflix for fight fans," is a subscription-based streaming service that offers a wealth of content for MMA enthusiasts. For only about $10 per month, subscribers gain access to preliminary events for UFC fights, all historic UFC matches, original content, events from other organizations, martial arts movies, and official UFC podcasts.

However, it's crucial to note that UFC Fight Pass subscribers still need to pay a premium to watch numbered UFC events live. These events are included in the subscription service only a month after their original broadcast.


Whether you're a casual viewer or a die-hard fan, understanding the distinction between UFC Fight Night and numbered UFC events can enhance your viewing experience. Each offers a unique perspective on the sport and caters to different audience preferences. So, the next time you tune in to watch UFC on TV, you'll have a better understanding of what to expect from each event.

Author: Dan Anderson