Could UFC 103 become a Spike show?

Looking at the card for UFC 103, it’s pretty tough to see where Zuffa will be able to justify making it a normal pay per view event. Even the idea that Rich Franklin could fight in the main event probably won’t be enough to generate enough interest to even make the normal baseline for UFC PPV buys approachable.

The addition of the Mirko Cro Cop vs. Junior dos Santos fight, while certainly intriguing from a heavyweight division standpoint, does almost nothing to add any buys on top of that baseline. Cro Cop’s last run in the UFC was incredibly damaging to his drawing power with fans in the United States, and his return fight in June likely did nothing to pull back any casual fans he’d lost after the first run.

Rich Franklin is a good main eventer for the show, but his choice of opponents may be limited. He’s been offered three fights and hasn’t accepted any of them at this point, but I can’t see anyone currently in the light heavyweight division who would be available and have enough drawing power to justify keeping this as a pay per view show. I’ve heard Wanderlei Silva crowing about a rematch, but I think Franklin is ready to move to 205 and stay there for the foreseeable future.

There’s already a relationship with Spike that Zuffa tries to honor by giving them free “major” cards a few times a year, and UFC 103 would probably be the perfect time to run one of those shows. Spike gets a numbered UFC show and a decent television rating, Zuffa gets goodwill from the fans who feel like they’re seeing something special for free, and the fans aren’t forced to pay for a card that appears decidedly subpar at this point.

Of course, Dana very well could sign Tito Ortiz to return and face Franklin on that show, and then this entire post would be rendered completely useless.

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