As UFC is walking away from Spike TV for the greener pastures of Fox, Viacom and Spike TV aren’t about to be left behind in the MMA world. Viacom, the parent of MTV Networks, purchased a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and has plans to begin showing their events on Spike TV in 2013. With the purchase, Viacom gets an existing, strong MMA brand, it illustrates their commitment to the sport while retaining a core part of their viewing audience. Currently, Viacom airs Bellator as part of their previous agreement on MTV2.
Selling to Viacom’s entertainment conglomerate guarantees a stable future for Bellator, said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, who will remain in charge of the MMA organization. It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us,” Rebney said. “Which is something that’s been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred. … It alleviates those issues.”
Bellator is the clear number two MMA organization in the country behind Zuffa, who owns both UFC and Strikeforce.
“As we realized that our relationship with UFC was likely to come to an end, our Viacom mergers and acquisitions folks, and us, started to have conversations with MTV2 about getting invested in a mixed martial arts promotion and become owners as opposed to renters,” Kevin Kay, Spike TV president. “You’re building value in something that you own, and you own it for the long term. You’re not in a constant state of negotiation.”
Here’s to hoping that Viacom and Spike take this show seriously and don’t sandwich it around 1000 Ways to Die, Coal, and Deadliest Warrior episodes. Actually, Deadliest Warrior might make sense (Will loves that show!) but they definitely need to get this into the middle of the week and away from any potential competition with UFC.
Tags: Bellator, Bjorn Rebney, Mixed Martial Arts, Spike
Source: USA Today