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Spike TV officials announced via release today their intentions to air a 10-hour UFC marathon with fight cards featuring UFC middleweight turned welterweight Nate Marquardt. The telecast airs on Sunday, June 26 from 1 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET. The event culminates with a re-broadcast of UFC Fight Night 22, which was headlined by Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares. The scheduled broadcast on Spike TV breaks down as follows:
UFC Unleashed: (UFC 73)
Anderson Silva vs. Nate Marquardt
UFC Unleashed: (UFC 109)
Chael Sonnen vs. Nate Marquardt
UFC Unleashed: (UFC 83)
Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Marquardt
UFC Fight Night:
Ivan Salaverry vs. Nate Marquardt
UFC 95: Sanchez vs. Stevenson
Wilson Gouveia vs. Nate Marquardt
UFC Fight Night:
Rousimar Palhares vs. Nate Marquardt
Coincidentally, this marathon directly overlaps with a live Marquardt-headlined UFC event on the Versus channel, UFC on Versus 4 from the 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Marquardt faces Rick Story in the main event as part of his welterweight debut.
As has been widely reported, the UFC and Spike TV partnership expires at the end of 2011. Negotiations are ongoing according to sources familiar with the situation, but the parties appear to be far apart on mutually agreeable terms. UFC President Dana White has stated his organization is talking to 'everyone' including Spike TV, but this unprecedented move by Spike appears to confirm industry suspicions the UFC and Spike may sever their partnership at the completion of their current contract arrangement. It was recently reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other publications that Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, was trying to purchase a controlling share of the G4 channel from NBC Universal/Comcast. Versus is owned by NBC Universal.
SB Nation reached out to Spike TV officials for further comment. Specifically, we asked why they would run this marathon to overlap with the UFC's live show on Versus and why these particular fights of all Marquardt's UFC fights were selected. "We picked a 10 hour marathon of exciting, hard-hitting , action-packed fights showcasing not only Nate 'The Great' - but some of the sport's biggest names including Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen," said David Schwarz, Vice President of Communications at Spike TV.