by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and SpikeTV have reached an agreement to extend their relationship through 2011. The announcement was made by Dana White during a conference call. According to multichannel.com, the deal between the two entities cost SpikeTV more than $100 million.
The deal will allow SpikeTV and the UFC to broadcast four live cards per year through 2011. The UFC and SpikeTV are apparently working collaboratively to produce a weekly series of live fights that will probably not air in the very immediate future. The deal will also include seasons nine through twelve of The Ultimate Fighter. In 2008 and 2009, there will be two seasons broadcasted per year. There will be one season per year in 2010 and 2011. UFC Unleashed will also be extended with 39 new episodes on the horizon.
This deal was announced after the highly publicized deal with HBO fell through. SpikeTV has been the original network that allowed the UFC to broadcast mixed martial arts since 2005. Since that time, the UFC has constantly delivered high ratings with its live fight cards and with The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show.
“We have the premiere [mixed-martial-arts] property … the UFC is to mixed martial arts as the [National Football League] is to pro football,” said Kevin Kay, president of Spike TV. “You don’t have to worry about where you put it; everyone who’s a fan is going to come to see the premiere product.”
Dana White was equally excited to extend their partnership. “With the tremendous success and the record ratings we have achieved over the years, I am very happy to have Spike TV as UFC’s cable partner,” said White. “I am excited to continue our relationship with the team that has supported UFC from the very beginning, and to have even greater success with all of our UFC programming on Spike TV.”
The extension of their partnership will allow the UFC to promote their product even more than before, especially with the announcement of a weekly live fight series that many fans have been waiting for. Details of the live fight series are yet to be released, but it is sure to excite many fans.