Spike TV are up to their old tricks again. They’ve confirmed that they intend to counter-program the UFC’s new season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ (AKA TUF 15) on FX in March with their own special ‘Ultimate Fighter Friday’s’ line-up.
Starting on March 2nd Spike will begin airing three hours worth of classic episodes from the TUF series each and every Friday, putting them in direct competition with the UFC’s newly revamped live version of the series on FX which will be coached by bantamweight stars Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
The Spike TV channel has become so synonymous with the show that it’s likely that some viewers will be caught out by this sneaky tactic and not realize that that new editions of the show have now moved to FX where they will remain for the next seven years.
They can do this as even although their long-running television deal with the UFC ends on December 31st they still have access to the promotion’s archived library of programming for a further year.
Execs at Spike also plan to continue countering the UFC’s live shows on FOX in the coming year with re-runs of past fights featuring the fighters who are competing at the events.
All this is part of the network’s strategy to keep UFC fans tuning into the channel until 2013 when they will bring in rival promotion Bellator Fighting Championships as their official replacement for the UFC.
Ironically in their attempt to snatch up viewers from the UFC on FX they will also be clashing with Bellator’s 2012 schedule on MTV2 as they recently announced they are shifting to Friday night’s from their previous Saturday slot in order to avoid clashing with the UFC’s events.