The UFC isn’t going to let EliteXC put an event on network TV without screwing with them a little bit. Just as they aired UFC 84 for free on Spike while the second CBS “Saturday Night Fights” card was taking place on July 26th — effectively stealing away a lot of EliteXC’s young male viewers — the UFC will be airing “UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin” on October 4th, opposite “EliteXC: Heat.” (They’ll also be showing “UFC 87: St-Pierre vs. Fitch” the following Saturday, on the night that Affliction was originally supposed to hold their “Day of Reckoning” card.) The UFC has previously tried to take the wind out of their competition’s sails by airing an “Ultimate Iceman” special on Spike during the first CBS “Saturday Night Fights” card in May, and scheduling an Anderson Silva-headlined Ultimate Fight Night during Affliction’s “Banned” card in July.
With Showtime lurking as a potential buyer for Pro Elite, a little less is riding on “Heat”‘s performance — lackluster ratings wouldn’t necessarily mean extinction if they have someone to bail them out. But the UFC could further devalue the EliteXC brand if they can prove that just as many people would tune in to see a UFC re-run as a new fight card from EliteXC. And if “Heat” is a bomb, maybe Showtime will think twice about the purchase.
In other UFC news…
— As mentioned during the Ultimate Fight Night 15 broadcast, the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature a U.S. team vs. a U.K. team. The show will feature welterweights and middleweights, and open auditions will be held in London on October 20th and Chicago on October 27th.
— A middleweight fight between Demian Maia and Nate Quarry has been added to UFC 91. Maia, who’s gone undefeated in eight pro fights, picked up his third UFC win last month with a submission of Jason MacDonald at UFC 87. Quarry is coming off his infamous unanimous decision win over Kalib Starnes at UFC 83 in April.