First written at Bloody Elbow
Spike TV has done so much for the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter Finale essentially saved the UFC and kick-started not only their surge towards the top of the combat sports world but provided us an outlet for more cards on cable television. So with that, it’s time for Spike to go away. I know this probably won’t ever happen unless a better deal comes along, but I can’t take much of this crap any longer.
I know I know “Hey man you can take the commercials right? After all it’s FREE”. And you’re correct, I shouldn’t bitch about free fights. The fights are just fine. I’m bitching about Spike TV, whose television broadcasts are reaching on unbearable and unwatchable.
1.) Tape delayed to the West/Mountain Time Zones. There’s no other rational argument for tape delaying North American UFC cards other than getting “extra ratings”. But even then Versus has had the UFC for 3 events and they haven’t done it once! Why on earth in 2011 are live sports events still being shown on tape delay? I figured that by not having a Fight Night on the same time as TUF that they would actually air it live to the West Coast but that obviously didn’t come to fruition. If it’s live, show it live everywhere.
2.) The broadcasts are stale. Versus did something very neat last broadcast where they had a pre and post-fight show previewing the night’s card. Even their first show featured a Countdown to Jones vs. Vera. What does Spike do? A long-ass marathon of UFC Unleashed featuring episodes they play over and over again followed by a new one consisting of recent fights you just saw on PPV. Typically UFC Fight Nights are a lead-in to TUF or some garbage show Spike’s certain to cancel. Put in a better attempt on these cards.
3.) The broadcasts are filled with more promos than fighting. After Jung/Garcia ended we marched right on towards some pointless promo of UFC 129 filled with boring, generic questions with Jake Shields. Then after Sadollah/Johnson we were not only treated to boring, generic questions with GSP, we got a sneak preview of Coal! The pacing of the show was so bad that they ran over the 2-hour timeslot (despite two 2nd round finishes) and they didn’t interview Anthony Johnson after defeating Dan Hardy. Versus and Ion are just so much better than Spike in broadcast quality it’s not even funny.
Spike may be synonymous with the UFC but that doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want with their broadcasts. March 2010 was a landmark month for the UFC when they aired a live card on Versus, and from then on they’ve increased their Versus output as well as added prelims live on ION. From a ratings perspective they’re obviously best staying with Spike unless ESPN says “we want in” but otherwise the network’s calls suck and they’re ruining these Fight Nights with the usual 40 minutes of fighting lost in 80 minutes of advertisements.