Counter-programming alert: Spike TV uses Melvin Guillard to challenge UFC on FX

Photo of UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard courtesy of UFC.com

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing lightweight veteran Melvin Guillard to cable television on Fri., Jan. 20, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET.

So too, is Spike TV.

While UFC on FX 1: "Guillard vs. Miller" goes down on the FX channel, live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, Spike will counter-program with a UFC: "Unleashed" marathon featuring none other than "The Young Assassin."

From today's release:

Spike TV will celebrate the career of one of mixed martial arts' most exciting fighters, Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard, with a five hour primetime "UFC Unleashed: Melvin Guillard" marathon on Friday, January 20 (7:00pm-12:00 Midnight ET/4:00pm-9:00pm PT). Guillard, a standout member of "The Ultimate Fighter 2" in 2005, has had an array of exciting fights throughout his career.

The UFC: "Unleashed" Melvin Guillard marathon schedule includes the following bouts:

7pm ET/4pm PT - Guillard vs Josh Neer
8pm ET/5pm PT- Guillard vs Rick Davis
9pm ET/6pm PT - Guillard vs. Shane Roller
10pm ET/7pm PT - Guillard vs Waylon Lowe
11pm ET/8pm PT - Guillard vs. Rich Clemente

The UFC opted for greener pastures on the FOX network (including FX and FUEL TV) after Spike TV balked at Zuffa's increased licensing fees during contract negotiations back in 2011.

With the end of the Spike TV "Prelims" specials and various other MMA-related programming, the network had a pretty sizable gap to fill in its efforts to retain the 18-34 demographic that tuned in for televised fisticuffs.

Enter Bellator.

While Bjorn Rebney and Co. won't be able to make their Spike TV debut until 2013, the network will try and keep fight fans satiated with a constant stream of UFC fights, which they still have at their disposal, thanks to a library licensing agreement that extends through the remainder of this year.

Anyone think this will put a dent in the ratings for the debut of UFC on FX?

More on the "Guillard vs. Miller" event right here.

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