Here’s a pleasant surprise.
The UFC and Spike TV teamed up at UFC 103 to air a few of the preliminary fights an hour before the pay-per-view went live presumably to persuade potential pay-per-view buyers to order UFC 103 instead of the Mayweather-Marquez boxing match. No one really expected them to do it again, but guess what? They are.
In what MMA fans will surely hope is sign of things to come, Spike TV today announced it’ll air two fights from the UFC 104 preliminary card before the event’s main card goes live on pay-per-view.
The two bouts chosen for free viewing are “The Ultimate Fighter 8” light heavyweight winner Ryan Bader (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Eric Schafer (11-3-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Antoni Hardonk (8-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. fellow heavyweight Patrick Barry (4-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
No one knows at this point if this will become a permanent practice, though the UFC 103 prelims did do fairly well in the ratings, so if the UFC and Spike discover that it adds to their bottom lines, I don’t see why they wouldn’t.