‘Ultimate Fighter’ To Spar Online


Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter will look to score a viewership knockout online
with the launch of a Web site dedicated to
the mixed martial arts-based reality series.

The men’s-targeted network and the Ultimate
Fighting Championship last Thursday
announced the launch of online vertical site
UltimateFighter.com, which will feature every
episode and every fight from all 10 seasons of
the network’s hit series The Ultimate Fighter. The
ad-supported network will also feature original
content from season 11 of TUF, which debuts
next week, according to Erik Flannigan, executive
vice president of digital media at MTV Networks
Entertainment Group.

The Marines, fast-food chain Burger King,
and mixed-martial-arts clothing line company
TapouT are the initial sponsors for UltimateFighter.
com, although Flannigan said
the network is talking to other companies
about advertising on the site.

Outside of TUF DVD offerings, the site
marks the first time all 231 complete fights
that have aired on the series — including
the full fight cards for all 10 season finales
— have been available since their initial airing
on the show, Flanagan told Multichannel
. “There has been an enormous fan base
for The Ultimate Fighter because it has been
sort of the proving ground of some of the biggest
names in the sport,” he said. “We felt we
had this valuable archive that needed to be
woven together and re-contextualized for a
fanbase that was passionate enough to look
for this content.”

Along with behind-the-scenes coverage of
The Ultimate Fighter 11: Team Liddell vs. Team
Ortiz, Flanagan said the site will also feature,
in their entirety, every TUF fight not aired
during the weekly series.

Flanagan also said the site will include
special video packages of fighters featured
in upcoming UFC PPV events. As many TUF
alumni — including Rashad Evans, Forrest
Griffi n, Matt Serra, Diego Sanchez, Michael
Bisping, Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian, Roy Nelson
and Kimbo Slice — are now prominent
UFC fighters, the site can further promote the
UFC brand by showcasing how these stars began
their careers in the sport.

Spike is the second MTV Networks Group
service to launch a vertical Web site for a specific show. Comedy Central’s has launched
sites for its series The Daily Show With John
(www.thedailyshow.com), The Colbert
(Colbert Nation at www.colbertnation.
) and South Park (southparkstudios.com),
as well as the for network’s stand-up comedy
library (jokes.com). Flanagan said the group
will continue to pursue other opportunities to
launch vertical sites, although none are currently
in development.