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Spike TV Is Going Uncomfortably Hard With Their UFC Counter-Programming


(“Fuck it, I’m calling in the air strike.”)

This week in “not honoring the spirit of the deal” news: Spike TV is upping the ante on their UFC counter-programming efforts, launching a new best-of-TUF series that would compete directly against season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter. “The Ultimate Fighter Fridays” will be a three-hour programming block debuting on Friday, March 2nd, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, featuring the best episodes from the first 14 seasons of the reality show. According to the press release, Spike will air special-themed editions of “The Ultimate Fighter Fridays” with input from fans via Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile on FX, The Ultimate Fighter LIVE is scheduled to kick off March 9th at 9 p.m. ET/PT, helmed by coaches Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz. Moving the show to a different network on a different night of the week will surely leave some fans confused if they haven’t been paying attention, and Spike’s new programming block just throws a few more tacks on the road, so to speak. But wait, there’s more…

Just as Spike aired the incredibly named “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: Unleashed for the Heavyweight Title“ marathon to steal a few gullible viewers from the UFC’s first FOX broadcast last month, they’re doing it again on January 28th with an eight-hour block called “UFC Unleashed: Evans vs. Davis,” which will (of course) run against the UFC on FOX 2 broadcast headlined by Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. As MMAFighting put it:

Labeling the event “Evans vs. Davis” may do a disservice to some viewers who will set their DVRs for “Evans vs. Davis” only to realize after the fact that they recorded the wrong program, although it’s hard to imagine many viewers will be fooled into watching the wrong fight.

Spike and the UFC will also compete with weekly MMA news shows in 2012 — MMA Junkie Live on Spike and UFC Tonight on FUEL. Time-slots haven’t been finalized yet, but don’t be surprised if they go head-to-head as well.

Related: Hate to Say We Told You So, But SPIKE TV is Planning a Bellator-Based Reality Show for 2013

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johnhayte- December 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm
re: Billytk

Most of the televised UFC events (SPIKE, Versus, etc.) are picked up by Sportsnet in Canada, including the recent Ion broadcast. I imagine it will be no different with FX and FUEL.
knucklesamitch- December 21, 2011 at 10:11 am
I don't think the UFC is going to be pissed at all. UFC programming is going to be airing on multiple channels, just because their partnership with Spike is over, it doesn't matter. In the end, a shit load of people are going to be watching UFC on tv, I think they care a little that Spike is siphoning ratings, but in the end, I don't think they care THAT much. When they will care is when people start watching Bellator's TUF-like show instead of FX's actual TUF show.
Billytk- December 21, 2011 at 7:50 am
The UFC is going to be pissed especially since they are already basically losing Canada to begin with since FX and Fuel aren't available in the Country so SPIKE bleeding off anything extra should hurt ratings
RaginAsian- December 21, 2011 at 5:11 am
Joke's on them because they're still pimping the UFC brand. Intentionally misleading consumers might get them a few paltry rating's points, but it'll catch up to them in the end and the UFC will be no worse for the wear.
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Spike would be better served playing UFC cards that feature fighters currently signed to Bellator to show their fighters are competitive. Roger Huerta and Ben Saunders come to mind.
Daoulas- December 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm
hard to think that their version of punishment is to play more UFCentsya 1999. Good job on promoting the company thats leaving you.

Thats like if your girlfriend left you and then you went out and gave everyone pictures of her box and was like "hey guys please dont fuck this next year" cmooooonnnnn really?
Rear Naked Poke- December 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm
I dont have cable.
XENOPHON- December 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm
Bellator wins. They are free, and don't spend 3/4 of the programming time watching men act likes kids per some director egging them on.
jimbonics- December 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm
Oversaturation.
Jason Moles- December 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm
Forgot to mention that in doing so, Spike TV also counter programs Bellator. Viacom: Where the left hand knows not what the right is doing. Who will win the ratings war: Bellator, New UFC, or Old UFC?
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