Bad news for those of you across the pond. The UFC had been planning to hold a numbered UFC event in either London or Liverpool on Oct. 15, but that has fallen through, according to UFC UK president Marshall Zelaznik. Apparently, Spike TV switched the dates on them and they were unable to secure a venue for the revised date.
The even worse news is the UFC probably won’t hold an event in UK at all in 2011, despite their initial plan to stage four-six UK shows this year.
“We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
“There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 per cent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them.”
So what’s the deal with Spike messing up the UFC’s plans? Well, that isn’t entirely clear, but there does seem to be a little tension between Spike and the UFC these days. In response to TUF 13’s poor ratings, Dana White put on all the blame on Spike for changing the show’s time slot to 9pm ET where it has more competition. Additionally, the long-time partners are currently engaged in ongoing negotiations for an extension to their television contract that ends later this year. We really haven’t gotten into it here, but it’s a very real possibility that the UFC could leave Spike altogether at the end of the year if they’re unable to reach a new deal. The UFC is said to be in talks with several other networks, most notably Versus (currently being re-branded as NBC Sports), which I’m sure has left Spike execs looking out for their network more so than the UFC at this point. I’m not saying that’s specifically why Spike changed the dates on them — it could be completely unrelated — but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a contributing factor.
Regardless, it looks the UFC’s plan for global domination is hitting a few speed bumps.