As part of VERSUS’ renewal deal, the network will air seven live WEC fights and two live UFC events in 2010, marking the first time that live UFC events will air on a national sports cable network. Also included in the renewal deal are digital media rights, giving VERSUS.com the ability to air one non-televised fight and behind-the-scenes footage from each live WEC Event. Details regarding when the first live UFC event will air on the network will be announced in the near future.
- From Versus.com (emphasis mine)
The deal will also allow Versus digital media rights to air WEC preliminary bouts on their website.
There are a few different ways to view this news. Maybe Zuffa is just looking at this as an opportunity to use the UFC to boost the visibility of the WEC. Maybe this is an attempt to get in better with Comcast and in turn have an increased chance of landing on NBC in the near future. Or maybe this is simply the UFC looking to expand their number of shows without expanding the amount of PPV's put on yearly.
Whatever the case, we'll be seeing two live UFC cards on Versus next year. Well, those MMA fans who don't have DirecTV anyway.
Update: From MMA Junkie:
Spike TV spokesperson David Schwarz today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that anything that's good for MMA is also good for Spike TV.
"We feel anything that helps expand the sport is good for Spike as we are the longterm home of the UFC, who are tremendous partners to work with," Schwarz said.
what most fans don't know is that the UFC has always had the option of airing up to four additional events on cable stations other than Spike TV each year, as Schwarz confirmed.