Spike TV will air the debut of Countdown to UFC 132 today at 1:12 p.m. ET. Yes, you read that right. The Countdown special, which historically have aired late in the evening on the Monday or Tuesday pre-ceding a UFC pay-per-view is airing in the middle of the afternoon. Hardly prime viewing time for the UFC's key demographic.
The UFC has been on Spike TV since 2005. It's been a long and successful partnership for both entities, but all signs are pointing to an acrimonious break up when the UFC's contract expires at the end of this year.
Nothing has been publicly said by either company, but Spike TV's programming schedule has become an excellent barometer for how things are going in the negotiations. Clearly this scheduling decision to bury the Countdown special does not bode well for the UFC's chances of returning to Spike TV.
Spike aggressively counter programmed the UFC's UFC Live 4 on Versus this Sunday with a marathon of old UFC Fight Nights. Spike's old stuff actually beat the live fights by about 50,000 viewers.