It’s been a while since Spike has thrown together a crazy UFC marathon. Considering how their relationship seems to be souring as TV deal negotiations break down, you might think those days are over. But this coming Sunday, Spike has announced they’ll be doing a 10 hour MMArathon starring Nate Marquardt. That’s good! Unfortunately, it takes place at the same time as UFC on Versus 4, featuring … Nate Marquardt! Not so good.
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.
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.
SB Nation also speculated that this is basically a straight up counter-programming move from SpikeTV designed to hurt the UFC’s ratings. How hilarious would it be if a replay of UFC Fight Night 22 on Spike outperformed a new event on Versus? Even if the ratings end up being kinda similar (which wouldn’t be a surprise, since Spike’s base ratings are generally up around what Versus gets on a very good night), it sends a very clear message to the folks at the UFC about exposure on Versus compared to exposure on Spike.
Past that, I love how this move was designed to sow confusion. How many people are going to tune into Spike on Sunday night and not understand why they’re getting that odd sensation of deja-vu? On the other hand, an entire day of Nate Marquardt programming just might whet fans’ appetites for the upcoming Nate fight on Versus. In that way, Spike could be seen as helping promote the event. That’d require the people be educated UFC fans and not just idiot Spike fans, though. I guess we’ll find out after the event how many of each group there are, which I think is kinda the whole point of this. Aren’t contract negotiations fun?