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.