David Loiseau rocked Evan Tanner with a brutal series of elbow shots, slicing his forehead in several places, forcing a stoppage in his favor for a victory in round two of the main event of the UFC live special on SpikeTV Monday night.
The match, the main event on one of the first shows in years since the end of WCW to compete directly against WWE RAW on the USA Network, served to raise the profile of Loiseau, who has been a successful fighter, but not against fighters the caliber of Tanner.
At the same time, it is another bad hit for Tanner, who was also TKO’d by Rich Franklin in June in a match most famous for the poor condition of Tanner’s face, a la Sakuraba or Takayama, after suffering an onslaught of punches.
Overall, however, the quality of this show was largely overshadowed by several choices that left the company between a rock and a hard place. Despite some pressure to cancel or postpone their third SpikeTV live special, UFC and Spike went ahead with the two-hour show head-to-head against the debut of WWE RAW, which moved from Spike to the USA Network for the first time this Monday.
A few months ago, the show was nary even a concept. But in response to WWE’s decision to make their debut show on USA a blowout, the Spike network decided to build up a competitive response with their “new” WWE, mixed martial arts. For reasons legal and otherwise, however, advertising was limited. In the weeks leading up to the show, many—most of whom not inside either organization—argued for the postponement of the show, an argument only strengthened by an injury to Stephan Bonnar, who was forced to step out of his match with James Irvin.
The competitive programming between SpikeTV and WWE erupted over the past several weeks into a full-on battle. By Monday, WWE had announced four hours of programming with the most loaded lineup perhaps in the history of the show; SpikeTV announced five hours of programming, four of UFC and the one-hour debut of TNA Impact that debuted Saturday night.
WWE is expected to take the night in the ratings by at least double the points.
Another controversy erupted in the wake of the event. Several mixed martial arts websites, which have traditionally been given clearance to cover events, were denied press passes. According to the website Sherdog, one organization which was affected, said that they were told by UFC President Dana White that the company is now denying online media that solely covers MMA such passes.
“Zuffa’s decision to deny credentials has impeded Sherdog.com, Full Contact Fighter (and fcfighter.com), MMAWeekly.com, MMARingReport.com and other Web sites from providing the quality and quantity of unbiased, even-handed UFC coverage that fans and fighters have become accustomed to — and, in many cases, dependent upon” Sherdog said. “It is with great regret and concern that these media entities cannot provide the usual pre-fight, live-fight, and post-fight coverage of UFC 55 in the form of articles, video, and audio that feature the noble athletes of this sport.”
Two Ultimate Fighter alumni, Josh Koscheck and Chris Leben, also fought on the show to varying success. Koscheck, the better fighter of the two who has made impressive strides in technique, was overcome by the more experienced Drew Fickett. Leben was successful against Edwin Dewees, making him three-for-three here.
The only other match that took place at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas and also aired during the two-hour special was Brandon Vera vs. Fabiano Scherner, an interesting contest that saw Vera win by TKO in round two.
The live special was followed on SpikeTV by a new episode of The Ultimate Fighter, which featured the dismissal of heavyweight Dan Christenson, and the debut of TNA Impact (a replay of the wrestling show from Saturday night).