Loiseau gets back in the ring

NEIL SPRINGER -- For SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 3:36 PM ET

In a small room at The Fight Network offices, mixed martial artist David (The Crow) Loiseau takes a breather from running the media gamut.
 
“Man, I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m.,” said the former TKO middleweight champion and UFC competitor, as he kicks his feet up, sprawls out and lays his head down on a sofa. “I’ve been at this all day, but it’s almost done.”
 
The Montreal native, who sports an MMA record of 14-6 over seven years, knows how to ready himself for a fight, but it seems no amount of training could have prepared him for the exhaustion that comes with a solid day of publicity.
 
The media marathon is in the wake of his recent signing with Showtime’s new MMA promotion EliteXC, which will air in Canada on TFN. Loiseau will battle former “King of the Cage” middleweight champion Joey Villasenor (22-5) on Feb. 10 on the under card of EliteXC’s debut, headlined by a match between Frank Shamrock and Renzo Gracie.
 
Despite the long day behind him and even more promoting ahead of him, Loiseau is enthusiastic about his participation in the new fight company.
 
“I feel great about it,” he said. “I’m very grateful to be a part of this because Showtime is a huge network in the U.S., it has millions of viewers.
 
“I was also very excited when I found out about (The Fight Network picking up the rights in Canada). I’m very happy because my fans, friends and family are going to be able to watch and support me. Canadian fans are strong and supportive … and I thank them for that.”
 
For EliteXC to succeed, however, it will have to compete with UFC, a name that is synonymous with MMA in North America. Recent pay-per-view buy rates for the company have been staggering. UFC 60, headlined by Joyce Gracie and Matt Hughes, drew about 600,000 buys and the match between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell at UFC 66 is rumoured to have drawn even higher numbers.
 
Loiseau said that this boom should indicate there’s room for more than one big MMA promotion in North America. He said as long as there’s only one major company, the fighters will continue to get paid less than they deserve.
 
“Fighters are not getting enough, that’s for sure,” said Loiseau. “All it takes for the fighters to get more is competition and I hope EliteXC is going to compete with UFC.”
 
What’s most important to Loiseau at the moment is to regain his footing in the mixed-martial-arts game.
 
After losing a UFC middleweight title match against then-champion Rich Franklin back in March, Loiseau then lost his next fight against Mike Swick in September. The consecutive defeats resulted in the UFC dropping him from its roster.
 
The decision hurt Loiseau, but it gave him time to step back and reassess his career. With that now behind him, he’s more than ready for his return fight against Villasenor for EliteXC.
 
“I once saw (the title fight with Franklin) as something that brought me down, but now I see it as something that helped me improve and I’m a better person and fighter because of it,” he said. “It was a blessing in disguise. Now I’m just moving forward now, rolling with the punches.
 
“Now, all the guys that I’ve lost to, those are the guys I want to fight. I know that with everyone that’s beaten me in past it’s not because they’re a better fighter; it’s all mental. I’m determined, I’m focused, I’m a harder worker and I’m going back to the top.”

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