It looks like Spike TV isn’t going to let the UFC walk away from their longtime liaison quietly.
Like a woman scorned , Spike will attempt to sabotage Zuffa’s burgeoning relationship with Fox by counter-programming the network’s first UFC event featuring a heavyweight tilt between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos with a three-hour special “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: Unleashed” series of shows according to MMA Junkie. The November 12 Unleashed Marathon will begin at 9:00 just as Fox’s inaugural UFC event is set to start.
According to the report, Spike owns the broadcast rights to the UFC library through 2012, and unless Zuffa buys back the rights the network will likely continue to counter-program Fox’s events for the next year. The catch 22 of the situation is that unless the UFC buys back the rights, Spike cannot air any other promotion’s events, which explains why it is only airing Bellator’s prelims on its website. The move could be a testing ground to see if there’s enough interest to move Bellator’s weekly events to the rotation when the UFC agreement expires.
Needless to say, Dana White is not impressed. During an interview he did with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani last week, the UFC president pulled no punches when discussing the move by Spike to air Bellator fights on Spike.com, but added as a last f*ck you that Zuffa has no intention of buying the rights back from Spike.
“UFC programming will be on Spike in 2012. It will continue there. When you look at what I call ‘the spirit of the deal,’ [counter-programming] is the wrong thing to do. In my opinion, it’s Spike not being honorable. They’re not being honorable and they know. [Spike president] Kevin [Kay] knows; [Spike senior vice president of sports and specials] Brian [Diamond] — all the guys who have dealt with me at Spike TV — I’ve been nothing but honorable with them,” White explained. “Everything that I did was to build the UFC and Spike TV. I’ve been a fantastic partner. Whatever they needed from me I’ve done for them and helped them get to where they are today, just like they’ve helped us get to where we are today. And what they’re doing, if that’s the case, and they’re running [Bellator fights] on Spike.com, that’s not the spirit of the deal and they are being 100 percent not honorable.”