Apparently the decision to make UFC 72 a PPV event as opposed to free was Spike’s decision. Here’s an email a member on the Sherdog forums received from Spike regarding the change:
Thanks for your email. SpikeTV has chosen not to carry this fight. It will be shown on PPV as well as UFC on Demand.
Although the response in not entirely surprising there are two likely reasons for Spike pulling the plug. The first and most likely is that Spike’s licenses to carry the event were too much money when compared to the expeted viewership they were going to receive. UFC 70, arguably the most stacked free UFC card in histroy, was just the 5th best event even on Spike being topped by TUF 1’s live finale , TUF 2’s live finale, TUF 3’s live finale, and The Final Chapter with Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock. The other possibility is that Spike simply wasn’t all that impressed with the card that has shaped up including a recently changed main event of Yushin Okami vs. Rich Franklin.
More to come if/when the UFC makes an official announcement. In the meantime catch the most up to date UFC 72 information in our UFC rumors section.