Top Rank, Spike TV Rumored to Be Working on 36-Week Deal

Spike TV is in talks with Top Rank to produce a weekly boxing show.

RingTV.com is reporting that Top Rank Inc. and cable channel Spike TV are working on a deal to produce a weekly, 36-show boxing program, which could help Top Rank get better coverage for its fighters on a more widely-watched outlet than Fox Sports Net, which tends to preempt their shows anyway, and would help Spike replace the UFC programming they recently lost.

As far as Spike goes, obviously UFC did pretty well there; not monster numbers all the time, but their reality show (The Ultimate Fighter) was a huge lift for the UFC as a company. For a long time both sides were getting a good return on the deal. In the end, UFC became too expensive for Spike, and the promotion's deal with the Fox network pretty much made being on Spike pointless for UFC. Spike has a new deal with smaller MMA promotion Bellator, but that doesn't start until 2013.

UFC and Spike eventually devolved into some fairly ugly pettiness, including UFC refusing to fundamentally promote its own shows that were airing in the end, but that would just be par for the course in boxing. (Rimshot!)

Most likely this would be a series similar to Top Rank Live, which currently airs on FSN and Fox Deportes, as I wouldn't expect Spike to be going in deep on money to produce big fights. At its best, Top Rank Live produces some very good shows with lower-weight fighters in action bouts, and gives looks at prospects like Mercito Gesta or Diego Magdaleno.

Obviously I believe this is nothing but good news if the deal is worked out; Spike is not going to cast the boxing aside for the local hockey team's post-game report, which happens on FSN constantly, because the FSN channels are regional and frankly the boxing show is not that important in most regions.

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