For an England card, UFC 89 is looking pretty good. We already have solid fights with Michael Bisping and Chris Leben, Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva and Sokoudjou and Luiz Cane. Not bad, right?
Well, it turns out UFC 89 may get even better. With the UFC running UFC 90—a pay-per-view event—the following weekend, UFC 89 makes for a great card to put free on Spike TV. However, it’s been reported that without a big main event, Spike TV has been unwilling to pay large rights fees to broadcast the event.
With Anderson Silva’s fight against James Irvin drawing nearly 4.5 million viewers this past Saturday night, the UFC and Spike TV may have found their solution—put Silva in the UFC 89 main event.
White said that if Silva fights in September at UFC 88, that it would likely be against Cote.
However, one source close to the fighter tells MMAjunkie.com that Silva, largely considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter, could instead be added to the UFC 89 fight card in Birmingham to bolster the nationally televised line-up. (And UFC 88 would instead feature its originally scheduled pay-per-view main event of Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans.)
Before the deal is finalized for UFC 89, Spike TV and the UFC first need to agree to a fee for the broadcast. The addition of a marketable star such as Silva, whose fight with Irvin peaked with a hefty 3.8 million viewers this past Saturday, would surely make the event more attractive to Spike TV and potential advertisers.
If Silva is moved to UFC 89, it’s not known if Cote would still be his opponent.
Not that I don’t want to see Silva on the UFC 88 card, but he really isn’t needed there. It appears to be more beneficial for the UFC make him the headliner at UFC 89. If that’s the direction they go, hopefully they’ll match him up with someone besides Cote. I’m having a really hard time getting excited for that one.
[UPDATE 7/23/08 1:21PM ET] – Looks like this card is going to get another boost. Keith Jardine is claiming he’s fighting Brandon Vera at UFC 89. I wonder what they’re saving for UFC 90.
[UPDATE 7/26/08 2:15AM ET] – Dave Meltzer is reporting that Dana White’s special announcement during the July 26 rebroadcast of UFC 84 will be that UFC 89 will indeed air on Spike TV. Anderson Silva’s title defense against Patrick Cote will likely headline UFC 89 or UFC 90.