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Report: UFC and Spike to sign contract extension

spikelogo.jpgThe UFC and Spike television network are about to forge a distribution deal in excess of $100 million that ensures The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality series and related programming remain on the cable channel, according to

The original agreement expired in 2008 -- there's no exact date in this latest report mentioned about the length of the new extension, but it does state that it is a "multi-year deal."

In addition, Spike will now broadcast more live events such as UFC Fight Nights and TUF Finales than the previous agreement.

The relationship between the UFC and Spike began in 2005 with season one debut of TUF Finale. At the time, there was no long-term contract between the two organizations in place.

Things soon changed, however, when light heavyweight finalists Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar stepped into the Octagon. The two went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes in an all out slugfest, with Griffin emerging as the bloodied victor.

"That was the single most important fight in UFC history," UFC President Dana White recently told The Gainesville Sun.

When the fight was over, according to White, Spike executives immediately wanted to ink a long-term deal.

Here's more from White:

"They basically grabbed us in armbars and chokes and took us to a back alley behind the arena. And they offered us a contract (through 2008). That has so much to do with Stephan and Forrest and what they did that night. They had fans in the building screaming and stomping, and during a six or seven minute stretch we had millions of new viewers."

The UFC is still in negotiations with premium cable network titan HBO to air fights -- most likely those that take place overseas -- on its channel.

In addition to the TUF reality series and UFC Fight Night and Finale specials, Spike showcases other related programming such as "All Access" and "Countdown." It also featured the magazine-style program known as "Inside the UFC," which is expected to make a return in the near future.

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