UFC Counter Programming Affliction? (Updated)

MMA Mania reports that the UFC is planning on running a show on July 19th for free on Spike TV.  The show is obviously being added to take away viewers from Affliction:  

Several fighters have recently been contacted about competing on a UFC card slated for July 19 for free on Spike TV — the same night that Affliction MMA is set to pull the trigger on its monster debut with “Banned” via pay-per-view (PPV).

Unabashed counter programming at its finest.

MMAmania.com learned over the weekend that promising heavyweight Cain Velesquez has been approached about making an appearance. In addition, Sherdog.com is reporting that Wanderlei Silva and Brandon Vera have also been contacted about getting in on the action — possibly against one another.

This decision makes a lot of sense.  Affliction will derive its buys from hardcore fans, and giving those fans a major free show with Wanderlei Silva on it may make them think twice about ordering the Affliction show.  I find it highly unlikely that Silva will be fighting Vera, it's a ridiculous size mismatch for Silva, and I don't think there's enough interest in that fight to really justify it.  

Dave Meltzer reported this week that Affliction is hoping to break even with a strong gate and 250,000-300,000 buys on PPV.  That number was absurd to begin with, and now looks far less likely.

July is shaping up to be an even hotter month for MMA than May was.  I think we are already seeing how competition benefits fans.

[UPDATE]:  Dave Meltzer is reporting that officials from the UFC and Spike TV are denying reports of a live show on July 19th.

[UPDATE] by Nick Thomas - More from Meltzer:

Here is the basics on the story going around regarding a UFC show on 7/19, head-to-head with the Affliction show. The sherdog.com story is correct in that fighters have been called, including Wanderlei Silva and Brandon Vera, but that match is likely not happening even on the chance there is such a show on that date.

It was an idea talked about in preliminary stages but Spike officials have said the next live special after Saturday will be on 9/17 and Dana White had also not green-lighted the idea as of earlier today and it was considered a no-go this morning.

Fighters have been contacted and based on updated stuff, I expect it is happening and most likely the final decision and an announcement will be made tomorrow. The fact they are still working hard on getting a quality main event says something.
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