Spike announces “Unleashed” marathon for Jan. 28
They say all is fair in love and war. The UFC and Spike TV spent several years in that love phase. And now that it’s over, make no mistake – Spike has no qualms with being at war.
The cable channel last week announced a “UFC Unleashed” marathon featuring Rashad Evans and Phil Davis – on the same day the UFC made Evans and Davis official to meet on a UFC on Fox show on Jan. 28. Naturally, the “Unleashed” marathon will air on Jan. 28, as well, right up against Fox’s Evans vs. Davis main card and the prelims on Fuel TV.
The UFC has aired programming on Spike since 2005. But its deal with the channel expires at the end of this year. In August, the UFC announced a seven-year deal with the Fox network, including programming on Fox cable stations FX and Fuel TV. That deal starts in January, including UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis in Chicago on Jan. 28.
While in Chicago last week to officially announce the show and the “tripleheader” broadcast, UFC president Dana White was informed of Spike’s announcement to counter-program the Jan. 28 show.
“That’s weird,” White said, a knowing smile on his face. “The funniest thing is, we didn’t make the decision to not be on Spike. Somebody high up in Viacom let the biggest sports franchise in the last 50 years go. And they’re acting mad at me? I didn’t do it – they did it. They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do to program their network, and it is what it is.”
The Fox live broadcast of the Evans-Davis card is called “UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis.” The Spike counter-programming blitz is called “UFC Unleashed: Evans vs. Davis.” Before the Fox deal was announced, and before Zuffa purchased rival promotion Strikeforce, the UFC and Spike would often counter-program Strikeforce’s Showtime broadcasts with past UFC pay-per-views. But once the negotiations between the UFC and Spike parent company Viacom broke down, Spike began counter-programming UFC pay-per-views, as well as the UFC on Fox debut in November, with old UFC events. Spike retains the rights to UFC fights it has broadcast through 2012, so this pattern is likely to continue.
The UFC Unleashed marathon on Jan. 28 will feature seven hours of content featuring not only Evans and Davis, but co-main event fighters Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz, as well, plus main card fighter Michael Bisping.
The full schedule is below:
4 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera (UFC 127)
5 p.m. Eastern, 10 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (UFC Fight Night 24)
7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Chael Sonnen vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral (UFC 55)
8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Mark Munoz vs. Kendall Grove (UFC 112)
9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Rashad Evans vs. Brad Imes (TUF 2 Finale)
10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson (UFC 114)
11 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific: UFC Unleashed: Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC 98)