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Ratings War! Spike TV to Counter-Program UFC 178 With Tribute to Eddie Alvarez

Less than a month removed from the Monday Night War that pitted Fight Night 50 against Bellator 123 (and saw the former emerge victorious by razor thin split-decision), the UFC and Bellator are set to go at it again. Sort of.

After finally being granted a release from his much-maligned former promotion thanks to the generous nature of Scott Coker, Eddie Alvarez was almost immediately signed by the UFC and booked to face Donald Cerrone at UFC 178 this weekend. But being that kindness is usually considered a sign of weakness in the fight game, the folks over at Viacom weren’t just going to let Alvarez slip away without *some* form of punishment, which in this case equates to counter-programming his UFC 178 co-main event fight with a 90-minute tribute to Alvarez on Spike TV.

According to MMAJunkie, “Eddie Alvarez: Free on Spike” will air at 10 p.m. ET/PT, a.k.a the same time Saturday’s UFC 178 main card kicks off on pay-per-view. (Ed note: The amount of evil finger-twiddling Coker must be doing in his secret underground lair right now…)

Among the fights being featured in the Alvarez special will be his all out war with Michael Chandler at Bellator 58, which saw him dethroned via 4th round submission, and his rematch with Chandler at Bellator 120 wherein he recaptured the promotion’s lightweight title.

Considering the record numbers Alvarez-Chandler II pulled the first time around, it’s safe to assume that a replay on Spike TV has the potential to draw some significant numbers away from UFC 178. As we mentioned when discussing the abysmal ratings of the TUF 20 premiere, FS1 will likely never be comparable to Spike TV in terms of delivering MMA content to the widest possible audience, and it has been proven in the past that casual fans will turn into *any* MMA event, regardless of whether it is live or being replayed, based solely on the convenience of being able to find said event.

Then again, UFC 178 is one of those rare UFC events these days that actually seems worth the price of admission. Between the slick, handsome Irish kid that takes no shit, the return of Dominick Cruz and Cat Zingano, and the guaranteed barnburner that Alvarez-Cerrone will be (and oh yeah, that flyweight title fight or whatever), UFC 178 has a little something for everybody. So maybe, just this one time, can we all agree to actually pony up the $60 instead of illegally streaming it? I know, marking out so hard right now.

-J. Jones

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