by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is holding three events in less than a two-week span at the end of March. Recently developed plans for a possible counter offensive to Strikeforce’s return to CBS may see the UFC under a similar scheduling arrangement in April.
It appears that the MMA juggernaut is preparing a UFC Fight Night event on Spike TV for April 17, the date that Strikeforce set for a Nashville event on CBS, according to a report from The Wrestling Observer. An MMAWeekly.com source close to the situation confirmed the report, saying, “It looks that way.”
A later report from Sherdog.com indicated that the UFC might even up the ante a little more than just counter-programming Strikeforce’s TV offerings, by considering holding its UFC Fight Night event at Vanderbilt University, also in Nashville. Such a move would take a shot not only at Strikeforce’s TV ratings, but also its ticket sales.
UFC officials have yet to officially make any sort of announcement regarding an additional date or location.
The maneuver is just the latest in a consistently aggressive strategy from the promotion in countering other high profile mixed martial arts broadcasting.
This time, however, Strikeforce could possibly counter the UFC’s counter.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAJunkie.com that everything is currently “locked and loaded for the 17th,” but that there is “some fluidity to what could happen.”
That “fluidity” could mean a possible move to April 24, where Strikeforce would counter the UFC’s sister promotion World Extreme Cagefighting. WEC 48, featuring featherweight champion Jose Aldo defending against former titleholder Urijah Faber, is scheduled for April 24, with plans to be the promotion’s first pay-per-view offering.
Just the possibility of the move has caused a backlash from fans on Twitter that have already purchased tickets to the Strikeforce event based on the April 17 date. In the scope of the situation, especially while Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS is far from cemented, television ratings and the hotly contested advertising dollar are likely to play a major factor into any decision to move.
Strikeforce officials on Friday told MMAWeekly.com that a final decision on whether or not to slide over to April 24 had yet to be determined.
With all three promotions consistently stepping up the amount live events and television programming they offer, regardless of how this UFC-Strikeforce-WEC programming triangle plays out, it’s not likely to end any time soon.