The UFC are currently in the last year of their contract with Spike TV and the rumormill is rife with talk that the promotion are looking to bring an end to their long-standing relationship with the network and move elsewhere, while the station are believed to be keeping close tabs on Bellator Fighting Championships as a potential replacement.
That’s certain to have lead to tensions behind the scenes, and judging by some recent decisions by Spike TV it’s also starting to affect the way they are dealing with UFC programming on the network.
For instance Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter aired an hour later than normal, a move which UFC president Dana White admitted he was not in favor of. The show ended up posting sub-par ratings all season long.
Then on Sunday night for the first time ever Spike TV decided to counter-program the UFC’s live event on the Versus network by airing a re-run of one of the promotion’s previous shows, the result being that they actually deliver 49,000 more viewers than the Versus broadcast.
Meanwhile earlier today it emerged that the premiere of the ‘Countdown To UFC 132’ show will come at the bizarre time of 1.12pm in the afternoon on Spike as opposed to it’s usual evening slot.
So the evidence suggests that there are major cracks developing in the relationship between the two parties and now more than ever it seems that the UFC will be moving to pastures new in 2012.