Spike TV Looking to Move on After UFC Departure, Bellator Finds a New Home?

Tyler WilliamsAnalyst IIIAugust 19, 2011

In the aftermath of UFC’s greatest announcement to date, the dominating organization announced they have inked a deal with a major network, FOX broadcasting. The MMA world has been shaken up!

This deal will lead to a highly anticipated debut on November 12, as UFC will hold two major bouts with preliminary fights being un-aired. This will just serve as a teaser for fans to anticipate what’s to come out of this new partnership.

As reported by MMAfrenzy.com

“When the UFC makes its Fox debut on November 12, it will feature just a one-hour, two-fight broadcast, offering fans a teaser of what to expect when the UFC begins hosting four annual events on Fox beginning in January."

A full preliminary card will still be included for fans attending the event in Anaheim, California, but UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told the Las Vegas Sun that the event was planned to end before top-ranked boxer Manny Paquiao’s match-up with Juan Manuel Marquez later that night:

“We’ll be out of there before Pacquiao even walks to the ring,” Fertitta said. “This is going to be a perfect night for any fight fan. Get together with your friends, watch two big fights in the UFC and then change the channel to ride into the Pacquiao pay-per-view.

“It’s going to be a little different with the first one. It’s going to literally be back-to-back action. We aren’t going to mess around with a lot of pre-fight commentary, post-fight commentary. We are going to roll right in, set up the fights and let the action go. For the people coming live in Anaheim, it will be just like a full pay-per-view. It’s a full fight card and if the first (televised fight) goes real quick, we’ll fill in like we always do.”

A featherweight match-up between Dustin Poirier and Pablo Garza was the first fight to be added to the card on Thursday.

UFC finding a new home means new beginnings not just for the UFC, but for MMA as a whole. MMA/UFC will now take a giant leap closer to mainstream stardom.

With this news, the UFC will end their long relationship with current television broadcaster Spike.

This relationship helped both parties grow in popularity and ratings.

But all good things come to an end and maybe this news is not just great news for the UFC, but for other MMA promotion Bellator Fighting Championships.

As soon as the deal had been officially confirmed during a historical live internet stream press conference that UFC on FOX was a reality, Spike TV looked towards the future.

If you tune into Spike right now, you can see that they are no longer marketing UFC but other promotion Bellator Fighting Championships, as they will have a live event air tomorrow on MTV 2.

The event will be headlined by former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez vs. veteran UFC and TUF alum (The Ultimate Fighter) Seth Petruzelli.

As MTV 2 and Spike are under the same umbrella of MTV Networks (which is owned by Viacom), we may see BFC transfer from MTV 2 to Spike.

This would be great for Spike and BFC as Spike will now have a new MMA organization to partner with and as Bellator looks to expand viewership and fan base.

But we (the fans) will ultimately benefit the most as that means more great action to come in the world of MMA.

But Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is looking to cool those discussions down.

Following was reported by Fightline.com (via source MMAjunkie)

Despite a current opening in the Spike TV programming, MMA fans shouldn't expect to see Bellator Fighting Championships fill the void, according to CEO Bjorn Rebney.

"At this stage, the only group that we're working with that are actually putting fights on with Bellator is MTV2, and they've been doing an amazing job," Rebney said.

Media group Viacom owns both Spike TV and MTV2, and Rebney has worked with Spike TV before, but only as an adviser.

A move to Spike TV would boost the number of homes available to view Bellator, as Spike TV reaches 96 million homes while MTV2 gets out to 80.

"I don't know if it will get more open now that they're not focused on another mixed martial arts brand, but I've been really pleasantly surprised at how open they've been and willing to assist and to help us build things, helps us create things, give us concepts up to this point," Rebney said.

Bellator will be live this weekend, as Bellator 48 takes place on Saturday from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, featuring the finals of the "Summer Series" featherweight tourney between Marlon Sandro and Pat Curran.

"Our job is to put on incredibly exciting fights, recruit world-class fighters, (and) constantly evolve the level of production," Rebney said. "That's ultimately going to dictate how successful we are going into season five and the next three years."

Although Bjorn Rebney looks to play down the talk of moving to Spike, don’t be surprised if Bellator makes an official move.

At the end of the day, Bellator wants to expand and joining Spike will help do so.