As Spike TV and the UFC continue to do battle, Spike has hired the biggest TV ratings draw ever to fight on the network inside the Octagon: Kimbo Slice.
Spike announced on Tuesday that Kimbo will appear as the host of The Ultimate Fighter Fridays on Spike on Friday, March 9, opposite the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter to air on FX. Spike has made no secret that it plans to use its rights to old UFC footage in an effort to attract viewers away from the UFC's new television partners of FX, Fox and FUEL TV, and this move is consistent with that.
"Kimbo will discuss never-before-revealed details of his experiences on the show and provide insight into what went on when the cameras weren’t rolling during the filming of the The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights," Spike said in a press release. "Season 10 was the highest-rated of all the 14 seasons on Spike, delivering an average of 3.4 million viewers per week."
Spike plans to run old episodes of The Ultimate Fighter every Friday night while FX is showing new episodes of The Ultimate Fighter with live fights. Spike's sister station, MTV2, will also be showing Bellator fights live on Friday nights.
From the perspective of FX and the UFC, this is an annoying tactic that will only serve to confuse viewers who are flipping through the channels looking for The Ultimate Fighter. But Spike is looking to do anything it can to maintain viewership among MMA fans this year, as it plans to take Bellator over from MTV2 next year. Expect a whole lot more UFC counter-programming from Spike in the months ahead.