Bellator Reality Show: Can It Be More Than an Updated 'TUF'?
Bellator is moving in where the UFC left off. In a deal that could see the minnow replace the fading Strikeforce as the No. 2 MMA promotion, Bellator has moved to Spike TV.
As part of this move, Spike, which helped create the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter reality show, will host a new version for Bellator.
The show is yet to be christened with a name, and tryouts have already been announced for lightweight and welterweight contestants. However, we don’t know which of Bellator’s current crop of fighters will act as coaches on the show, nor whether the show will follow the same format popularised by TUF.
In any case, while the UFC was on Spike, it was the biggest MMA organisation in the world, particularly during the years 2005 to 2011, when TUF was shown on the channel. That was part of its appeal and what made the show a hit for so many years.
And there have been signs for several seasons now that even the UFC’s brand of a televised talent contest was a format quickly dying out.
The first season of TUF, which culminated in the now mythical standoff between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, was a huge hit for Spike, and even by its 10th season, the show earned the station 6.1 million viewers during the finale.
However, now in its 16th season, and airing on FX, the fifth episode barely mustered 624,000 viewers. This, despite the UFC doing all it could to arrest the show’s decline, including trying a failed live format in the previous season.
None of this augurs well for Bellator or for Spike.
But perhaps competing with the UFC and TUF is not what either wants.
One of the more remarkable things about the early seasons of TUF is that both the show and the promotion grew together. The high point for TUF came during the UFC’s middle years, before the organisation became the behemoth that it is today.
That helps explain why, as far as the UFC is concerned, TUF is dying. The promotion has simply outgrown the TV show, and fans know that few of the contestants will ever make it big in the incredibly competitive UFC.
But for Bellator, the show could still be relevant. It could provide a point of continuity, where its growing fans on the new network can watch fighters develop from the reality show to becoming fighters on the various seasons of Bellator itself.
That’s the kind of synergy a promotion the size of Bellator can use to build on its own success, which the UFC can’t.
Without aiming for the lofty ratings of the UFC or TUF, the Bellator show, with a focus on driving fans and talent to the promotion itself, can be a lot more than simply an update of its predecessor.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?