Ironic Twists Abound on Countdown to Silva-Irvin

July 19, 2008

Tonight’s UFC event was scheduled for the sole purpose of counter programming Affliction’s promotional debut. In light of that fact, and the UFC’s aggressive posture towards competitors in general, there was a touch of irony to the Countdown to Silva vs Irvin on Spike which featured not one, but two of the company’s acknowledged promotional rivals.

First, EliteXC Light Heavyweight Prospect and Anderson Silva protege Rafael Feijao was interviewed and featured prominently on the show. Feijao will be in action next week at EliteXC Unfinished Business on CBS and is widely considered the company’s choice for its first EXC Light Heavyweight Champion. This was a surprising development for an organization that ignored Robbie Lawler as an assistant coach for an entire season of the Ultimate Fighter because he was under contract to EliteXC.

Unless the company has had an abrupt change of heart and decided to start promoting its competition, I suspect that the creative oversight for the Countdown shows is not as stringent as the company’s live event broadcasts where anyone not under UFC contract is carefully ignored for the most part. This wasn’t the first time that something slipped past the Countdown “censors,” previously Georges St. Pierre managed to wear Affliction gear on the Countdown to UFC 83 despite a ban on the apparel label.

But that wasn’t the only strange twist of the show.

Footage of Reese Andy fighting in the IFL also aired, although no mention was made of the organization by name. That is sure to raise eyebrows in light of recent reports that the UFC is close to acquiring the IFL (despite the potentially difficult shareholder approval process that awaits any deal). Regardless of how or why permission was asked and given regarding the footage, it was a note worthy event, particularly in light of the nasty legal dispute that took place between the companies in the not too distant past.

    In keeping with the unusual occurrences theme, the program was also replayed on the Versus network. This isn’t unprecedented, but does go to show you how serious the company is about delivering a knockout blow to its competition tonight.

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