UFC announces official Super Bowl 2014 weather forecast contingency plan, could move 'Barao vs Faber 2' to Sunday in Newark

USA TODAY Sports

ATTENTION UFC 169 TICKET HOLDERS: While Dana White searches for a Shaman who can cut a "no-snow" wriggle, combat sports fans who plan to attend "Barao vs. Faber 2" in Newark, N.J., next weekend might want to consider adjusting their weekend plans.

As frustrating as the frigid winter of 2014 has been for much of North America, next weekend (Feb 1-2, 2014) the dreaded "polar vortex" may actually end up causing more headaches for a group of Nevada residents than for those of us who call Canada (or the northern portion of the United States) home.

That's because Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may be forced -- for the first time in its 20-year history -- to reschedule a pay-per-view (PPV) event because of inclement weather ... and competition.

Indeed, it's not just the forecast for Sat., Feb. 1, 2014 -- the day UFC 169 is scheduled to take place at Newark, New Jersey's Prudential Center -- that likely has UFC President Dana White reaching for his ulcer medication. Rather, it's the forecast for the following day that is to blame for all the worry.

You see, Feb. 2 just happens to be Super Bowl Sunday in nearby East Rutherford.

The reason this is such a problem for UFC is that the Superbowl will be played at Met Life Stadium, and right now there are serious concerns about the frigid temps and snow forecast for the Meadowlands area next weekend. This means there's a possibility the Super Bowl could be rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1.

If that happens, according to UFC Senior Director of Public Relations Dave Sholler, UFC will have no choice but to adjust accordingly.

"If, and only if, they move the Super Bowl to Saturday, we will move UFC 169 to Sunday," Sholler said at the UFC on FOX 10 post-fight press conference (watch here).

Obviously, this would be a nightmare scenario for UFC.

Not only would the logistics of rescheduling an event be a complete disaster from the perspective of dealing with PPV providers, but a majority of ticket holders would undoubtedly be miffed. Many fans visiting from out of town may already have flights booked for Sunday. What's more, fans who ended up attending the show would have to battle the Super Bowl-cancelling elements to make it to the Prudential Center.

It may not be UFC's fault, but any inconveniences caused by the switch would likely erode goodwill with a portion of the company's ticket buying fanbase in the northeast.

Even worse for UFC's bottom line, it would likely do horrible business running on a night like Sunday when most fight fans aren't in the habit of buying PPV's. The main event rematch between Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber likely wasn't going to do a blockbuster number to begin with, but throw in a last minute change of date, and Zuffa could be looking at a new basement-level PPV buy rate.

However, there is a way UFC's television partner, FOX, could ameliorate the situation in the event the Super Bowl is forced to move to Saturday.

If the Super Bowl switcheroo ends up going down, FOX could make it up to UFC by pushing UFC 169 hard during the game. There would be no better way to build up a PPV with the deck stacked against it than for it to receive a string of plugs on a game that is traditionally the most watched program of the year in the United States.

And while it may be tempting to blame this situation on FOX's insistence UFC 169 take place in Newark to maximize synergy with Super Bowl 48, even before UFC began its partnership with FOX it was in the habit of running events alongside NFL's biggest weekend.

In other words, even If UFC 169 was scheduled for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Zuffa would still be forced to swap dates if the NFL decided to move the biggest game of the year to Saturday.

Popular sporting events have been known to hurt UFC in the past, but going against the Super Bowl would be absolute suicide.

I think fight fans and football fans alike can all agree it would be in everyone's best interest if the Super Bowl and UFC 169 are able to take place as planned without any last minute changes.

After all, sometimes bucking tradition is bad for everyone involved.

Stay tuned.

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