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Dana says Spike TV is "100% NOT Honorable"

Tallica19812011-09-30 15:12:42 +0000 #1
Couple of recent stories about a fued between Zuffa and Spike TV:


In an interview with's Ariel Helwani on Wednesday of last week, UFC President Dana White updated fans on the current situation with Spike TV. As of right now, Spike TV owns UFC programming rights through 2012, putting a thorn in the UFC's back as they move forward with their new television partner Fox. There is an option for the UFC to buy back the rights, but it will eliminate a clause in the deal that stops Spike TV from bringing in another promotion to fill the void.

Spike TV hasn't hidden the fact that they would like to move Bellator Fighting Championships over from MTV2 to their network. Both channels are under the Viacom umbrella, and despite Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney's past comments that they are pleased with MTV2 and will stay there -- Spike TV has already put the wheels in motion. One such piece of evidence came on September 10th when Spike TV's website,, began broadcasting live prelims for Bellator.

White was pressed by Helwani about the library rights, and he responded to questions revolving around Spike TV broadcasting Bellator's preliminary card on their website.'s Zach Arnold has the transciption:

The most intriguing insider baseball segment of the interview is when Ariel asked Dana whether or not it's true that Spike can't air Bellator on TV in 2012 unless UFC buys the rights (picks up the option) to their video library to stop it from airing on Spike in 2012. Dana says that UFC has no intentions on buying the library rights, so Spike is stuck with UFC programming in 2012 as their only contractual choice.

Ariel then pressed Dana on Spike airing Bellator fights on their web site.

"If you really look at what I call the spirit of the deal... it's the wrong thing to do."

"In my opinion, it's Spike not being honorable."

"I've been nothing but honorable with them."

"That is not the spirit of the deal and they're being 100% not honorable."

It will be an interesting year for the UFC in 2012. They will be counter programmed by their own content on Spike TV, and it will more than likely affect their ratings. Spike TV believes that fans are morons however. They'll be confused by the UFC's switch to Fox because Spike TV is the home of the UFC. In reality, Fox's broader reach and bevy of secondary channels should inform the fanbase of the move, along with the UFC's own advertising during pay-per-views.

Dana White has stated all along that Spike TV has been an honorable partner that helped them grow for years and years. It would seem that White is now finding out the hardships of playing chess in the landscape of television. Spike TV, however dishonorable you may believe they are being by airing Bellator's prelims, is a business. In my mind, the move was a precursor to bringing Bellator over to the network.

Unfortunately for Spike TV, the UFC won't be opting to buy back the library rights. Spike TV will have to wait a year to move Bellator over to their network, and the UFC and Fox will have to spend a little extra money getting the word out about upcoming events. A minor trade-off to stop their primary competitor from stabilizing. Will Bellator survive the year? Will Spike TV hurt the UFC's ratings on Fox? Only time will tell, but it should be a fascinating business story buried beneath the pugilism.


Last week, Dana White described Spike TV airing Bellator fights on as "dishonorable" and "against the spirit" of their deal. This is the same Dana White whose promise of "business as usual" involves gutting Strikeforce of its talent in what looks like an obvious attempt to sway Showtime from renewing their contract in 2012.

White also refuses to buy back rights to UFC footage from Spike, which prevents the cable channel from airing MMA content from other promotions, effectively blocking Bellator move from MTV2. Today, MMA Junkie reports that Spike won't be afraid to utilize their unwanted library:

On Nov. 12, Spike TV will air a "UFC Unleashed" marathon - dubbed "Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: Unleashed for the Heavyweight Title" - featuring past fights with UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.

Not surprisingly, the marathon begins just as Velasquez and Dos Santos fight at UFC on FOX 1, the UFC's first show on network TV.

Back in June, Spike TV counter-programed UFC on Versus 5 with a replay of UFC Fight Night 22. Spike's efforts outdrew the Versus show by just under 50,000 viewers.

greatjake2011-09-30 15:23:32 +0000 #2
Dana White says "Spike isnt Honorable" while hes on the phone with Fox working a deal while still in a contract with spike. Gotta love buisness
BulldogWrestler2011-09-30 15:25:39 +0000 #3
Dana has a point, regardless of the article's misguided attempts at trying to spin it the other way.

I'm split on this. I mean, if it's not in the contract - it's not in the contract and Dana has no real right to complain about them airing fights on But at the same time, it's incredibly ****ty for Spike to use those rights to counterprogram the UFC with their own material. Airing shows as "Dos Santos vs Velasquez" is borderline false advertising too. Also holding the "rights for ransom" is a ****ty thing to do. That said, if it bothers the UFC so much (which I don't think it really does) - then they could just buy back the rights and not sweat it. Although that opens the door for its competition and allows Spike to use the UFC material to get people in and promote the Bellator brand.

It's a cluster**** really - but all break ups are.
Jeff Mondo2011-09-30 15:51:17 +0000 #4

Originally Posted by BulldogWrestler

It's a cluster**** really - but all break ups are.

Roundhouse2011-09-30 17:03:25 +0000 #5

Originally Posted by greatjake

Dana White says "Spike isnt Honorable" while hes on the phone with Fox working a deal while still in a contract with spike. Gotta love buisness

His deal with Spike always allowed for a deal with Network TV. Plus, they'd already agreed to go their seperate ways.

Both parties met their contractual obligation. It comes down to whether you feel either is trying to stick it to the other. Based on my limited knowledge of the situation (what has been released through media) it appears the UFC has been 100% honourable in dealing with Spike. I don't necessarily see this as Spike being dishonourable to the UFC, just taking advantage of a stipulation in the contract. It's not that it's wrong, just not necessarily done in good spirit.
BulldogWrestler2011-09-30 16:07:18 +0000 #6
Yeah. The UFC wasn't "backdooring it" with Spike. In fact, it was quite the opposite and Spike knew all along that the UFC was fielding offers from network television.



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