by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Going head-to-head with Randy Couture’s press conference, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on a media conference call on Thursday announced a new television deal with Spike TV.
The new deal extends the UFC’s partnership with Spike TV by three years through 2011. The network remains the promotion’s home on basic cable television in the U.S.
In announcing the deal, White said, “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. I am excited to continue our relationship with the team that has supported UFC from the very beginning.”
The main components of the deal include:
– Seasons nine through 12 of the highly successful reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter.”
– 12 live fight cards, “UFC Fight Nights,” hosted by Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. Spike TV will telecast four per year.
– Two seasons of a new, weekly live fight series (details to be announced at a later date).
– 39 one-hour episodes of “UFC Unleashed,” hosted by Mike Goldberg, featuring the greatest fights in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, many of them never seen before on basic cable. Spike TV will run 13 per year in ’09, ’10, and ’11.
Spike TV president Kevin Kay explained that there would continue to be two seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter” each calendar year through the year 2009. Starting in 2010, “The Ultimate Fighter” will air one season per calendar year as Spike TV and the UFC begin a new weekly live fight series, the format of which is still in development, that will also begin airing in 2010.
Although the extension is contracted for four live events per year over three-year period, Spike TV representative David Schwarz clarified that there is no cap on live events. If both parties agree, they are able to air more live events on Spike TV as they see fit.