The UFC and Spike TV are close to finalizing a deal that would put October's UFC 89 event on free basic cable -- a week before the recently announced UFC 90 event that will likely air on pay per view.
A source close to the event tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that the UFC 89 announcement is expected soon.
However, when reached for comment today, Spike TV Vice President of Communications David Schwarz had no comment.
UFC 89 takes place Oct. 18 at The NIA in Birmingham, England. The main event features "The Ultimate Fighter 3" winner and popular British fighter Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben. Also slated to compete are Lyoto Machida, Thiago Silva, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Shane Carwin and Marcus Davis.
However, a major addition to the card has been discussed.
After this past weekend's UFC Fight Night 14 event in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White said that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who defeated James Irvin in the event's headline bout, will likely next fight Patrick Cote. (Yushin Okami had been next in line for the title shot, but he recently suffered a broken hand while training.)
White said that if Silva fights in September at UFC 88, that it would likely be against Cote.
However, one source close to the fighter tells MMAjunkie.com that Silva, largely considered the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, could instead be added to the UFC 89 fight card in Birmingham to bolster the nationally televised line-up. (And UFC 88 would instead feature its originally scheduled pay-per-view main event of Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans.)
Before the deal is finalized for UFC 89, Spike TV and the UFC first need to agree to a fee for the broadcast. The addition of a marketable star such as Silva, whose fight with Irvin peaked with a hefty 3.8 million viewers this past Saturday, would surely make the event more attractive to Spike TV and potential advertisers.
If Silva is moved to UFC 89, it's not known if Cote would still be his opponent.
Again, though, the possible UFC 89 title fight is far from finalized and has merely been discussed as a possibility.