"Countdown to UFC 134" debuts on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, at 11 p.m. ET on Spike TV. But that doesn't mean you have to wait until then to see the show, in its entirety.
That's because Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today announced that they are offering the full episode of the popular program on its official website, a full two days before it's scheduled to premiere on its former broadcast partners cable television channel.
The UFC and Spike TV, longtime partners that brought the sport to prominence through shows like The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and unprecedented coverage, recently made the decision to mutually part ways when terms of a new contract could not be reached.
The world's largest fight promotion quickly landed on its feet, though, when it struck a deal with FOX and its family of networks for a reported $100 million a year, along with a whole host of other incentives.
This has led to speculation that Spike TV would enter into a relationship with Bellator to fill the void left by the UFC. Executives from the cable network were spotted at a recent Bellator event in Canada and the channel has done some cross promoting with other entertainment entities like TNA.
Quite the turnaround from as little as six months ago.
The UFC first went into business with Spike TV back in 2005 when it reached a deal to broadcast a budding reality series, TUF, that would eventually propel the organization to heights it had previously thought unimaginable.
The relationship was mutually beneficial, as UFC offered a ton of original programming that did well in all the right demographics and Spike was more than willing to push the product with plenty of promotion and flexibility.
Everything seemed to be going well until just recently when their contract came up for renewal. UFC President Dana White stated his company was in talks with "every network" with multiple reports stating they were in negotiations with nearly everyone, including potentially buying the G4 network and running their own channel.
During this time, a bevy of odd decisions were made regarding UFC programming on Spike TV. Most notably, TUF 13 had its time slot moved back an hour, which seemed to greatly affect its presence and contributed greatly to one of the lowest rated seasons in the history of the show.
Then when "Countdown to UFC 132" aired at 1 p.m. ET, instead of its usual time of 11 p.m. ET, it seemed clear that the relationship had soured.
Either way, despite the UFC reaching a deal with FOX, the two sides will have to work together until the contract officially runs out. That means a few more rounds of "Prelims" specials, of which they will hold for UFC 135, 136 and 137, as well as Countdown specials.
But will the UFC continue to air the preview shows a full two days before Spike TV puts them on the air?
What are your thoughts on this, Maniacs? Anyone care to speculate as to why UFC would do such a thing? And do you think they will continue to do so? Sound off.