Tonight, June 11, beginning at approximately 5:50 p.m. ET, UFC 131: Carwin vs. dos Santos kicks off from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The event is headlined by a heavyweight match-up between former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin and season 13 head coach of Spike TV's 'The Ultimate Fighter' Junior dos Santos. The winner of their bout will face Cain Velasquez where the UFC heavyweight title will be on the line. Also appearing on this card is Kenny Florian (making his debut at 145lbs), jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia, NCAA Division I national champion wrestler Mark Munoz and many other UFC fan favorites.
So, how can you watch this event? Fortunately, there are myriad ways to have your needs met no matter the place, preference or platform. Let's break down the options.
The UFC offers a number of ways to watch every part of their card online. Let's break down the card by viewing options as they change with each portion of the card on to the pay-per-view portion of the event.
For the preliminary card, there are a variety of options. While at least two of the fights from the preliminary card won't be available online (they are exclusive to Spike TV), the rest of preliminary card will be.
For Facebook users, go to the UFC's Facebook page at approximately 5:50 p.m. ET to begin viewing the card. This is free. All one has to do is "Like" the UFC page and you can watch the preliminary card for free.
If you aren't into the idea of Facebook, the UFC recently expanded their options. You can now view the preliminary card fights not airing on Spike TV on the UFC's YouTube page or right here in this window below:
Historically, the UFC's partnership with UStream has allowed users who purchase their pay-per-view via the UStream platform (at a cost of $44.99) to view the entire fight card top to bottom. I believe that is the case this time as well. Up until then, you can visit the UFC UStream channel to watch a preview of the event streaming for free.
For those who use Yahoo! or have Yahoo! mail, you have options there as well. Simply go to the dedicated UFC 131 page at Yahoo.com and purchase the pay-per-view. Note: unlike UStream, this event will only stream what's shown on the television pay-per-view portion of the card.
The options here are narrow, but still developing as the mobile market emerges. For those who are iPhone or iPad users, you can purchase the event to watch by using the UFC app from the iTunes app store. The app itself is $.99 while the pay-per-view is still $44.99.
Any cable provider should be able to set you up with the ability to purchase this event or any other UFC event provided to have basic coverage. Whether your cable provider is DirecTV, Comcast, Cox or any other major cable company, you should be covered. If you're not, please list the name of the company in the comments. A comprehensive list of cable providers who carry these events can be found here.
The cost for these events is easy to remember. For standard definition feeds, you'll pay $44.99 while high definition costs $54.99. As a consistent purchaser of high definition UFC events, I can say confidently it's worth the extra $10 for crisp, clear picture.
For those who are users of the Roku set-top box, you can also view UFC events live (although only the pay-per-view portion, not the preliminary card).
And as the UFC recently announced, live fights are coming soon to the XBox.
Don't forget: beginning at 8 p.m. ET, Spike TV will carry at least two fights from the preliminary portion of the card. With time remaining, they may show some from the Facebook/YouTube portion of the card.
At A Bar
The UFC provides a comprehensive, searchable database of bars that carry UFC events sorted by geography. Simply go to bars.ufc.com. From there you can enter your zip code to find those bars carrying tonight's fights closest to you. The results will even pull up the bar's number so you can call to ensure they're carrying the event plus inquire about specials or a cover charge.
Last, but certainly not least, here's the fight card laid out by distribution platform, time and segment:
If there's any method I left out, please leave a comment and I'll be sure to add it to the list. Until next time, enjoy the fights.