While most fans just awoke to the surprising news “UFC 125 Prelims” will make its debut this Saturday on Ion Television, analysts pulled an all-nighter to figure out what this “network” deal means for the future of freebie fights.
Spike TV’s entering the final year of its contract with the UFC. The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s longtime home for free MMA action, which includes their highly popular “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, could very well find themselves on the outside of the Octagon looking in after 2011.
“We’re going to talk to these guys and see what’s up,” UFC president Dana White told MMAJunkie. “This might be a regular thing.
“Listen, it’s a ballsy move to go on network with prelims, but the Ion guys are the real deal. We’re going to see if we can make it happen with them.”
Although the sport’s ultimate shot-caller wouldn’t go into specifics regarding their relationship with Spike, he was thrilled to finally get his product on network television.
“These guys are considered a network. The FCC calls them a network, White claimed. “This is the first time we’ve ever been on network television, and the prelims are going to be aired.
“It’s a big deal. It’s in over 100 million homes.”
Monday’s announcement was the latest move by the UFC to raise eyebrows regarding their relationship with Spike TV.
Despite losing out on a handful of WEC shows in exchange for only four UFC events as a result of October’s merger, Versus couldn’t be happier as they appear to have strengthened their relationship with the UFC, while Spike TV has been treading water.
UFC.com offered a free stream of “UFC 124 Prelims.” The “2010 Video Game Awards” prevented Spike from opening for Georges St-Pierre that night, however there is no such ceremony this Saturday.
In fact, viewers of the edgy network will be halfway through “The Longest Yard” by the time Ion’s New Year’s Day extravaganza kicks off.
“UFC Fight Night 23: Fight for the Troops 2” is Spike TV’s next Octagon show. The event airs live on January 22nd inside the Fort Hood in Kileen, Texas.