Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

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Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

PostPosted by #Foxxc# » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:54 am

Media conglomerate Viacom has reportedly thrown its hat further into the mixed martial arts business, purchasing Bellator Fighting Championships, USA Today's Sergio Non reported early Wednesday morning.

As part of the deal, Spike TV will begin broadcasting live Bellator events in 2013, though the promotion will continue running weekly shows on MTV2 in the meantime. Both networks are owned by Viacom.

Talks between both parties have reportedly been ongoing for the past year, with both sides reaching an agreement earlier this month.

Spike TV began airing original mixed martial arts programming exclusive to the UFC in 2005, including the wildly popular The Ultimate Fighter series and UFC Fight Night live events. With the recent announcement of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's seven-year partnership with FOX, Spike TV's contract to air new content from the promotion comes to an end in December. Spike, however, still maintains the rights to the UFC's video library until 2012, allowing the cable network to run re-broadcasts of events over the next year.

Though Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney denied rumors of the promotion's move to Spike TV in an interview with Cage Religion Radio last month, Spike TV's website began airing live Bellator preliminary bouts just weeks later. The promotion's weekly live events have been airing on Viacom-owned cable network MTV2 since March.


As part of the transition, Bellator will have a platform to reach a much broader audience. Spike TV currently boasts 100 million subscribers in contrast to MTV2's 80 million. As a comparison, Bellator averages 242,000 weekly viewers on MTV2 with the UFC Fight Night events drawing between 1.2 and 2.2 million viewers on Spike TV.


12 months ago I wrote an article discussing the financial peril that Bellator were in and how they might not last too much longer. Today they are owned by Viacom, moving to Spike TV in 2013 and financially better off than the UFC, what a wacky world we live in.
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Re: Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

PostPosted by Longshot » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:21 am

Well, the good news is that there could possibly be some legitimate competition for the UFC. MMA has been growing pretty steadily over the past few years and nothing spurs growth to new plateaus like competition.
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Re: Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

PostPosted by #Foxxc# » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:37 am

I honestly think that by the time they land on Spike in 2013 they will have dropped the tournament concept, their fighters aren't stars because they're only fighting once or twice a year.
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Re: Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

PostPosted by Longshot » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:56 pm

#Foxxc# wrote:I honestly think that by the time they land on Spike in 2013 they will have dropped the tournament concept, their fighters aren't stars because they're only fighting once or twice a year.


It would probably be a good move too. I am a big fan of tournaments, but unless they are really drawing the thing out over weeks and weeks, I can't see how one would lend itself to television.
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Re: Viacom Purchases Bellator Fighting Championships.

PostPosted by #Foxxc# » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:39 am

Longshot wrote:It would probably be a good move too. I am a big fan of tournaments, but unless they are really drawing the thing out over weeks and weeks, I can't see how one would lend itself to television.


I think they can still run the tournament concept, just drop the rule of only tourney winners get a title shot. I mean still have an eight man tournament but feature lesser known stars or veterans with something to prove [Dan Hornbuckle for instance] and still give the winning fighters in each weight class a shot at the title along the way so a guy like Ben Askren can get more than two fights a year because for his development he needs to be fighting four to five times per year.
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