Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More on UFC 70 and the Spike TV Tape Delay

By Steve Sievert

UFC fans just picked up an extra 40 bucks.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is moving UFC 70 from the pay-per-view dial to basic cable. The event will air tape-delayed on Spike TV Saturday, April 21 at 9 p.m., Eastern and Pacific, from MEN Arena in Manchester, England.

The show was originally slated to be UFC's coming out party on HBO, but, with the two sides in decidedly opposite corners when it comes to packaging the telecasts, moving 70 to Spike made the most sense. It avoids a live PPV on a Saturday afternoon.

The move is a sharp departure from the promotion's typical M-O of putting its mega-shows on PPV and raking in millions. UFC Nation saves $40 a pop in the process.

As for the stalemate between HBO and the UFC, it's all about control.

UFC boss Dana White, who has meticulous control over nearly every aspect of UFC events, wants his footprint on the HBO production, as well. HBO prefers a more objective approach and wants final say on how the telecasts come together. Ultimately, there's too much bank at stake for the two sides not to come to terms. It's a matter of who blinks first.

In the meantime, UFC fans get a freebie, albeit somewhat watered down, since UFC 70 results will make the rounds on the Web well before the telecast.

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