It doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world. After all, we're trained to fear the punch to the nose, to the eye, to the kisser. Right behind the ear? An afterthought at best. But ask Junior dos Santos about the sweet spot. Ask Matt Serra. Better yet, ask former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
Eighteen years to the night after Royce Gracie became the UFC's first tournament champion, fellow Brazilian dos Santos blistered Velasquez with a hard punch right behind the ear and swarmed him on the ground for a finish. A tearful dos Santos was beyond words, becoming just the fourteenth man to claim UFC heavyweight gold.
As the sole fight of the night on Fox, it delivered a magical moment. Unfortunately, it was a singular one. The crowd was amped, ready to be part of history. Instead, they were part of a mere minute of fight action.
Despite the paucity of in cage work, the promotion's network debut has to be considered a conditional success. There were no major gaffes. The fight failed to deliver a classic, but wasn't boring either. The pre-taped introductions of both fighters were the best in UFC history.
It wasn't a flawless broadcast, however. UFC President Dana White looked nervous sitting next to Curt Menefee during the pre and post-fight segments. White wasn't able to tone down his excitable approach to fight promotion and gave the show a bit of a carnival barker feel. Brock Lesnar, there to plug his own fight with Alistair Overeem, did his best to fill in the technical holes, but that's not Lesnar working to his strength.
Those are problems easily fixed. Smooth talkers like Rashad Evans or Randy Couture can sit in Lesnar's chair. White can either tone things down or give way to a professional broadcaster. It's a good sign that the problems are in the details - the broadcast generally looked and sounded great.
When the ratings roll in we'll be able to say with certainty that the event was a broadcast success. But signs point to an overwhelming one. The UFC looked absolutely ready for primetime - and by 2012 the UFC and Fox should be firing on all cylinders. Welcome to the future, the one UFC fans have dreamed about for years. It's great to be here.