It’s never in a fighter’s best interest to air out the UFC’s dirty laundry. It appears the same can be said for the UFC’s broadcast partner, Spike TV.
According to MMA Junkie, Kendall Grove’s fight against Goran Reljic has been dropped from Spike’s UFC 116 prelim special because Grove publicly disparaged Spike for how they run “The Ultimate Fighter.”
A middleweight bout between Kendall Grove and Goran Reljic has been demoted to UFC 116’s un-aired preliminary card, and a light-heavyweight fight between Seth Petruzelli and Ricardo Romero has been promoted to its slot on UFC 116’s “UFC Prelims” special on Spike TV.
A source close to Spike TV today confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The source said Grove prompted the change after the fighter openly criticized the UFC’s longtime cable partner and their involvement in “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“Spike TV pretty much runs everything on The Ultimate Fighter. They could be sub-leasing the UFC name, but I’m sure Dana and the UFC are getting a nice little pay check from Spike but other than that, Spike runs the thing. Dana doesn’t choose who’s going to be on the show, it’s Spike executives. Even when I was on there in the earlier seasons, they were picking a couple guys with funny personalities. I’m pretty sure I got on there not because of my good looks, but because I had a pretty good personality. Everything is ratings to these guys. Just like that season where they shot [expletive] inside the fruit…people do that stuff. Why? Because of ratings. Is it a health violation? Yeah, but did you see the Spike TV people stop that from happening? It sells ratings and that’s all they care about. They could give two [expletives] about our career. They just care about the six-weeks that they’re shooting and get as much drama and stupidity out of us. That’s all we are to them is cattle and sheep. They way they run things, they’re slowly controlling us to be like that.”
I’m sure we can all agree Grove would have been better off keeping that to himself, but was it a wise move for Spike to retaliate? Maybe it will discourage other TUF alums from speaking out against them, but really, it’s not like Kendall blew the cover off a huge scandal or anything. Plenty of other fighters have painted a similar picture of TUF in the past, which is why it wasn’t a big story to begin with. Ironically, it’s a story now because Spike it made one.
Moreover, Grove’s opponent Goran Reljic is suddenly paying the price for something he had nothing to do with. Not only will he miss out on valuable exposure — typically 1-1.5 million tune into Spike for the prelims — he’ll likely lose out on a chunk of sponsorship money if their fight doesn’t make the pay-per-view.