Melvin Guillard was all over cable TV Friday, headlining a UFC event on FX and a marathon on Spike TV. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Less than a month into 2012, Spike has given another preview as to what their goals seem to be this year when it comes to the UFC: taunt the existing product by reminding people about the good old days when the two were live programming partners.
The latest snipe came Monday when Spike executives sent out an email comparing last Friday's UFC on FX debut to three Fight Nights they aired in 2011. According to Spike, the FX show averaged a 1.19 rating with males 18-49, a 1.20 with males 18-34 and garnered 1.3 million viewers.
They pointed out their three Fight Night events last year averaged a 1.8 rating with both males 18-49 and 18.34 with 1.9 million viewers. Those three events were January 22 (Melvin Guillard vs. Evan Dunham/Fight For The Troops 2), March 26 (Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira) and September 17 (Jake Ellenberger vs. Jake Shields).
While both networks are seen in roughly 100 million homes, it's worth noting that all three Fight Night events aired on Saturdays as opposed to FX on Friday. One could also argue the star power of the March co-main event with Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson and the September Ellenberger vs. Shields main event was greater than anything on the FX show.
Spike's counter-programming of a Guillard marathon brought in 648,000 viewers at 9 PM EST, 751,000 viewers at 10 PM EST and 543,000 viewers at 11 PM EST. The UFC on FX prelims from 6-9 PM EST on Fuel TV averaged 148,000 viewers.
Again, Spike is paying the UFC to air second run programming in the final year of their contract before Bellator moves over in 2013. Speculation from industry insiders is that Spike's efforts are meant to irritate Zuffa to the point they buy back the rights to the programming, allowing Bellator to come over early.