I just received notice from a rep at Spike TV that they're officially done with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It reads as follows:
"The Ultimate Fighter" season 14 in September will be our last. We are increasing our commitment to distinctive, original series that we own such as "Auction Hunters" and "Bar Rescue" which are delivering on our goal to reach a broader audience. Our 6-year partnership with the UFC has been incredibly beneficial in building both our brands, and we wish them all the best in the future."
That's it. This confirms a couple of things we already knew. First, the UFC and Spike were not going to re-up their original deal. Two, that Spike is taking their television programming in a different direction. They're seeking men and women 18-49, not simply men.
There's no mention of what this means for upstart league Bellator, although privately Spike sources tell me they're still very interested in the product. Live sports is DVR-proof, something 'Auction Hunters' or 'Bar Rescue' can't offer.
More on this story as it develops.