10 Reasons Why BAMMA Could, and Should, Be On Spike TV

Jonathan ShragerCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2011

10 Reasons Why BAMMA Could, and Should, Be On Spike TV

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    BAMMA and SPIKE...A match made in Heaven?

    Since the UFC’s game-changing announcement that they have joined forces with Fox, speculation is rife within MMA circles as to who’s the prime candidate to fill the void on Spike. Names such as Bellator, ProElite and even Shark Fights have been bandied around but one promotion that hasn’t been discussed, conspicuous in its lack of mention, could be the wild card that Spike TV desperately requires...BAMMA.

    Here is a compelling list of reasons which serve to underscore why BAMMA should be Spike TV’s number one target.

1. Additional Programming

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    BAMMA...also spelt ENTERTAINMENT.

    Spike TV is not only losing live events by parting ways with UFC but they are losing additional programming such as The Ultimate Fighter, Countdown and Primetime.

    The BAMMA executive team possesses two eminent members with varied TV production credentials, having produced programming that ranges from mainstream reality shows to documentaries and chat shows.

    This invaluable experience, coupled with a database of prestigious contacts, has ensured that Europe’s elite organization is seeking to provide much more high-octane, high-quality viewing entertainment aside from its several annual live events, something which the other cited organisations have not yet promised to deliver. This comprises a reality show, highlight programmes, event countdowns, event breakdowns, fighter spotlight presentations and multiple other broadcasts.

    Speaking exclusively to the Head of Business Development at BAMMA, Liam Fisher, he assured that “BAMMA has a wealth of additional programming ready to go—some at the concept stage, some at the piloting stage. The only reason we haven’t released anything yet is because we’re waiting for the right platform. Our relationship with NBC Universal and Syfy is only 2 events old plus MMA is a brand new avenue for them, so it makes sense to grow into that relationship and test the waters first.”

    Perhaps most notably, BAMMA have already discussed plans to produce an original MMA reality show, representing a departure from “The Ultimate Fighter," a show heavily criticized for becoming stagnant on Spike.

2. Talent and Marquee Fighters

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    BAMMA=Top Tier Talent

    The key ingredient of any worthwhile promotion is the talent that it attracts, and the fights that it stages. An MMA organization may have all the style in the world, but it must provide the substance to support that style. Fortunately, BAMMA offers both in abundance. Elite-level, hugely entertaining fights within an expertly-packaged framework.

    BAMMA is now procuring the names of upper echelon fighters globally, including the likes of Nate Marquardt, Efrain Escudero, Joey Villasenor and Frank Trigg, to name but a few. Most tellingly, BAMMA is beginning to assert its clout within the MMA world, toppling stiff competition from the likes of Bellator and Dream in attracting illustrious talent. Furthermore, within the past six months seven fighters have chosen to fight for BAMMA rather than sign a deal with other top level MMA promotions. This had led MMA luminaries to progressively consider BAMMA as mixed martial art’s premiere promotion outside of the Zuffa banner.

    Industry sources have recently suggested that one of Bellator’s “ace up their sleeve” could be fighting on a BAMMA card in 2011. Even names such as Batista, Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson and Shinya Aoki have been linked with BAMMA in one form or another online. So it would appear that BAMMA is continually sourcing and willing to pay for big-name fighters, and Spike would provide the perfect platform on which to showcase such prestigious fighters.

    Another intriguing prospect is the possibility of BAMMA imminently hosting Dave Batista’s MMA debut. Following months of rumours, BAMMA recently confirmed to “The Fight Lounge” that they are indeed in ongoing talks with Batista. This would constitute another huge global MMA spectacle from which Spike could reap the lucrative programming benefits.

3. Viewing Figures

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    Numbers don't lie, but they do shout

    Extensive research reveals that BAMMA is consistently outperforming the UFC in the UK by an average of 250,000 viewers per event (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board). BAMMA 4, broadcasted on Bravo, posted figures of close to a million viewers, 14 times the amount that UFC 119 managed to attract on the very same evening (Living TV Group, formerly of Bravo TV). In fact BAMMA 4 holds the record as the most watched UK MMA event ever. Also, BAMMA 5 attracted 500 times more viewers within the UK than Strikeforce: Daley vs Diaz, both of which were headlined by the same fighter.

    To contextualize the full significance of these figures, we must delve a little further; Bear in mind that (Bravo was and) Syfy is a channel that broadcasts into 13 million homes within the UK, a relatively small island which has yet to properly accept MMA as a legitimate sport. Now envisage BAMMA’s potential if featuring on a channel like Spike that reaches close to 100 million homes in a considerably larger country that has much more acceptance for mixed martial arts. Proportionally, BAMMA performs exceptionally well compared to the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator, given that the last TUF finale attracted 1.4 million viewers, Bellator events bring in an average of close to around 200,000 on MTV2 and Strikeforce on Showtime rarely breaks the million mark.

4. Global Expansion

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    BAMMA’s recent megadeal with Content Media Corporation, allied with confirmation of events to be held in Ireland and mainland Europe, highlights BAMMA’s strategy to become a global brand, and significant player within the world of MMA. BAMMA’s global expansion policy yet again significantly distinguishes it from its closest market competitors in Bellator, Shark Fights or Pro Elite, who appear content to remain within the confines of the US market.

    Also, take into consideration the fact that BAMMA is the youngest organization (founded in 2009) of the four cited above, including Bellator (2008), ProElite (2006) and Shark Fights (2008), in which context its rapid progress is rendered even more impressive. BAMMA’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter also eclipses that boasted by ProElite and Shark Fights, underlining that BAMMA is an organization with a progressive outlook, willing to embrace all avenues of exposure.

    With the UFC’s exit leaving a veritable chasm on Spike in its wake, BAMMA is gradually developing into the sole non-Zuffa related promotion that will be able to admirably assume the mantle.

5. Global Exposure

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    Bearing in mind that BAMMA has delivered global PR campaigns for every event this year, BAMMA’s multimedia agreement with CMC prospectively holds enormous implications for the advancement of the promotion. Content Media will exclusively distribute BAMMA’s live broadcasts and existing archive footage across all platforms outside of the UK including TV and digital, signifying that BAMMA could potentially be broadcasting into over half a billion homes by 2012.

    In addition to this widespread multi-platform exposure, BAMMA also receives an expansive range of coverage from the entire gamut of media outlets globally. These include some of the most widely-read sports sources within the UK and globally; mainstream offline publications such as The Daily Star, Daily Mirror, and Men’s Health, FHM, Radio Times, hugely influential online avenues such as the BBC, TalkSport, Sky, MSN, ESPN, USA Today, and respected MMA sources such as the MMAHour and Bleacher Report all regularly cover our news and events.

    BAMMA’s global appeal also manifests itself in the catalogue of impressive sponsors who have proactively chosen to advertise through BAMMA. The list comprises both UK and global brands such as godaddy.com, pkr.com, Lonsdale, Sports Direct and NBC Universal amongst others. It remains the only MMA organisation within the UK to attract multiple blue chip advertisers and continued investment from US companies indicates their belief in BAMMA’s potential to become a global entity. This clearly demonstrates that BAMMA are a reputable commercial organisation that can attract mainstream advertisers, of paramount importance to any credible TV network.

6. Production Values

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    Not many are better positioned to comment on the production values of an organisation than those that perform at the actual events; “in terms of the live shows, the production values, the entertainment, and the treatment received by the fighters, the organisation is top notch” stated middleweight champion Tom Watson, who has fought for a plethora of other top promotions worldwide.

    BAMMA’s lead colour commentator, Michael “The Voice” Schiavello has become one of combat sports most popular and respected live reporters, and he unswervingly injects a certain “je ne sais quoi” into an event. And from “The Voice” outside the cage, to “The Golden Voice” inside it, Shadd Dales has fast become a sought-after MC within the world of combat sports, having worked for Golden Boy Promotions and Virgin Radio. Finally, OJ Borg, interviewer extraordinaire, has previously worked on mainstream national radio and TV stations before being approached for his berth with BAMMA.

7. Professionalism

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    Numerous fighters including Joey Villasenor and Tom Watson have attested in depth to the professionalism with which BAMMA conducts itself. Fighters are treated with the utmost respect, and the promotion is highly-polished and seamlessly-managed by a team of elite executives who are all experts within their specific fields. BAMMA’s dedication to becoming a serious outfit has culminated in it becoming the single MMA organisation within Europe to impose a regulation policy that will be comparable to Athletic State Commissions in the US, and is the primary reason cited by Nate Marquardt for joining the ever-expanding promotion.

8. Opinions of Those in the Know

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    You know a promotion is important when GSP shows his handsome face

    Tom “Kong” Watson (following BAMMA 4)- “The best show ever in Britain has just been staged."

    Nate Marquardt- “BAMMA promote and treat their fighters well. They also have some big news for American fans coming up that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to talk about. I could see me fighting with BAMMA for a long time. Most importantly, they can secure top level opponents. Tom Watson just beat Murillo Ninja Rua. Thus far everything is going well, I'm excited about my future with BAMMA.”

    Joey Villasenor: “BAMMA is Europe’s UFC”

    Bleacher Report: “True to their name, BAMMA have become a powerhouse in British MMA”

    ESPN: “BAMMA stand alone as the premier UK MMA outfit”

    The Daily Telegraph: “BAMMA are demonstrably on an upward trajectory, long may it continue”

    Plus, aside from luminaries from the world of MMA, including GSP and Frank Shamrock, BAMMA events also attract glitterati from far and wide, such as BAFTA-winning film producer Noel Clarke and Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr.

9. British Cage Girls

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    In her dreams, Arianny wishes she was as sexy as Georgia Graham

    Georgia has fast become BAMMA's most popular cage-girl, alongside the equally gorgeous Rhian Sugden. And both women are quickly growing a global fanbase, acknowledged as two of the hottest in the game.

    What's even more special about Georgia is her cheeky (and at times saucy) banter, and she tends to actually respond to tweets, as opposed to Arianny.

10. And After All, the Americans Love Us Brits

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    I agree Mr.Obama, SPIKE should approach BAMMA

    The surname of the US's very own 44th president, Barack OBAMA, almost spells out BAMMA. Now call me superstitious but this to me seems like a decidedly positive omen, and bodes well for a prospective alliance between SPIKE and BAMMA.

    Premonitions aside, there are numerous other more solid reasons as to why SPIKE TV should invest its faith, energy and resources into Europe's elite MMA organisation, as have been enumerated throughout this slideshow.

    So, from the country that brought you Fawlty Towers, The Rolling Stones, Austin Powers, David Beckham and a myriad of other cultural phenomenons, Britain now offers you BAMMA. You'd be foolish to overlook it.

    Follow me @jonathanshrager