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October 20, 2014

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UFC to counter-program Strikeforce event

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Strikeforce

Strikeforce chief Scott Coker, center, holds the 145-pound women’s title belt that was up for grabs between Gina Carano, left, and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos. Santos won the fight.

Beyond the Sun

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will re-broadcast several bouts from its landmark UFC 100 show on Spike TV on Saturday night.

That just happens to be the same day as a big event for Strikeforce, the promotion that's emerging as UFC's most legitimate competitor. The Strikeforce show, featuring the first-ever female championship fight between Las Vegas' Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos, will take place Saturday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

The "Carano vs. Cyborg" event is set to air on Showtime at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Meanwhile the Spike TV re-broadcast — which will feature six bouts from July's historic UFC 100 show, including Brock Lesnar's heavyweight title defense against Frank Mir in the main event — is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

UFC 100, held July 11 in Las Vegas, was the biggest pay-per-view event in UFC history, with more than 1.5 million buys. UFC president Dana White joked with media members before the event that if his MMA organization sold that many pay-per-views, he would base jump off Mandalay Bay, a hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Last weekend at UFC 101 White said he plans on keeping that promise.

While White had always talked highly of Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and his Bay Area-based fighting organization, last week in Philadelphia the UFC boss openly the promotion he dubbed "Strikefarce" after it signed heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, who balked at a UFC contract offer.

This isn't the first time White and the UFC have countered Strikeforce over other rival promoters. During Strikeforce's debut event, "Shamrock vs. Diaz," on Showtime debut in April, the UFC re-aired "UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn II." The UFC and Spike TV also countered both of the now-defunct Affliction fight cards including running a UFC Fight Night event with star Anderson Silva free on cable last July during Affliction's debut event.

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