The UFC recently ended a seven-year relationship with Spike TV to move its programming over to the Fox family of networks, including The Ultimate Fighter, which is largely credited for saving the promotion.
The split between the UFC and Spike was all about business, but has been anything but amicable.
Spike TV retained the rights to its library of UFC programming through 2012. Spike has taken full advantage of the library, counterprogramming the UFC’s milestone shows on the Fox networks with it.
From the UFC on Fox 1 to The Ultimate Fighter Live, Spike has countered all of the UFC and Fox moves, and it appears that will continue through the end of the year, when its rights to UFC programming come to an end.
After a season of lower-than-average ratings on a new network, FX, and in a new timeslot, Friday nights, the UFC premiers season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter on Sept. 14, rebranding it as The Ultimate Fighter Fridays. Season 16 features coaches Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson.
Spike is next countering the season 16 TUF premier with its own four-hour block Roy Nelson: The Ultimate Fighter.
Nelson was part of The Ultimate Fighter 10 on Spike TV, which also featured Kimbo Slice’s attempt at a UFC run. Spike TV is playing off the popularity of that season, including the Roy Nelson vs. Kimbo Slice fight in its four-hour block. It also includes the TUF 10 season finale, which included Roy Nelson vs. Brendan Schaub, as well as Jon Jones vs. Matt Hamill, Frankie Edgar vs. Matt Veach, and Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander.
After Spike’s rights to UFC programming come to an end in January 2013, the network will begin airing Bellator Fighting Championships live events and ancillary programming, as well as K-1 kickboxing.