Although that number seems to fall in line with recent returns for preliminary bouts on Spike TV – UFC 133 drew 1.4 million viewers and UFC 132 did 1.2 million – it actually could have been much higher, all things being equal. The 1.3 million viewers that Spike drew on Saturday night takes into account that numerous people on the East Coast were without power during the broadcast.
As a result, Spike TV has decided to air the UFC 134 Prelims again on Thursday night with a mini-marathon of Anderson Silva themed episodes of Unleashed leading up to the rebroadcast.
Spike is loading up on UFC broadcasting for the remainder of 2011 with a final season of The Ultimate Fighter on the network and several preliminary bout broadcasts in the works.
The network’s contract with the UFC is up at the end of the year and the UFC has inked an agreement with Fox to take the majority of its televised offerings – including The Ultimate Fighter, UFC Prelims, and other shows – over to its new home.
Spike, meanwhile, retains the rights to reruns of the live UFC events it has aired over the years, along with The Ultimate Fighter and Unleashed for 2012. It will remains to be seen if Spike will hang on to those rights to help build an audience for a new mixed martial arts offering or if it will attempt to negotiate an agreement for the UFC to buy those rights back.