Trifecta in Ultimate syndie deal

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship is throwing its hat in the syndication ring -- or rather, the Octagon -- with Trifecta Entertainment & Media.

Marking its first syndication deal, Trifecta has acquired exclusive syndication rights for a new weekly series of mixed martial-arts programming from the UFC organization.

"UFC Wired," the first syndicated series from the UFC brand, will feature the organization's "most compelling athletes, thrilling battles and over-the-top action" from the "most action-packed and formidable UFC competitions," the companies said.

Joe Rogan, the face of UFC's pay-per-view events, has signed on as host of the show. Trifecta is offering 22 hourlong episodes available for broadcast during the 2007-08 season on a full-barter basis.

UFC competitors use a mixture of martial arts disciplines in an event that takes place on an eight-sided mat and a cage design called the Octagon. In addition to its presence on PPV, Spike TV airs various UFC programming -- including titles like "Inside the UFC," also hosted by Rogan -- that performs well with the key male demos.

"This is not a niche sport anymore; it's mainstream and very advertiser-friendly," Trifecta partner and CEO Hank Cohen said. "It's certainly a unique alternative to most of the other hours coming out (for next season)."

Trifecta was formed in 2005 by MGM veterans Cohen, Michael Daraio, Scott Spungin and Shelley Brown, who are all partners in the company.

"When we formed Trifecta, we agreed it was a priority to identify a high-profile property before launching our syndication business, and without a doubt, 'UFC Wired' is that property," Cohen said.

The company will handle all advertising sales for "UFC Wired" through its New York office, headed by Daraio. Bill Trotter oversees broadcast sales for Trifecta.

Added UFC president Dana White: "We are confident that our first entry into the syndication marketplace will give existing fans an inside look at our world as well as bring in a whole new audience that can experience the UFC for the first time."

Trifecta produces and distributes the weekly series "Heartland Poker Tour." It also is close to finalizing several other syndication deals, including a series featuring Jack Hanna and a syndicated version of "Sunday Morning Shootout" called "Hollywood Shootout."

Rogan, who also provides commentary for Spike TV's live UFC fights, is repped by Endeavor. He also was host of NBC's "Fear Factor."

The UFC also is repped by Endeavor, which brokered the deal.
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