Bellator MMA once again will have a new weekly home, this time on Fridays.
Bellator officials on Tuesday confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that the promotion will debut on a Saturday before moving to Friday nights the following week. Loretta Hunt of SI.com first reported the news after speaking to Spike TV President Kevin Kay.
Bellator's Season 9 debut is set for Saturday Sept. 7 on Spike TV, a card that serves as the promotion's live season finale for the "Fight Master" reality show/competition. That show debuts June 19 on Spike TV.
But after that event, likely Bellator 98, the promotion will move to Friday nights from 9-11 p.m. ET starting Sept. 13 for the rest of its ninth season.
Season 8 for the promotion, its first on Spike TV, took place on Thursday nights. But Kay told SI.com that the recent move for TNA Impact Wrestling to 9 p.m. ET on Thursdays meant Bellator only had a couple of options for its weekly slot on the cable network: Wednesdays or Fridays.
The UFC's move to FOX Sports 1 will include many Wednesday events, and Kay said that was a situation Spike TV and Bellator chose to avoid for the fans' sake.
"I don't want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC," Kay told SI.com. "I don't think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don't want to not give the fans the choice to watch both."
Bellator is no stranger to Friday nights. The promotion made Fridays its home during its fourth through seventh seasons on MTV2 before moving to Thursdays for Season 8 on Spike TV. That season became its most widely viewed yet thanks in part to an increase in homes with Spike TV available and an increase in visibility for the channel over MTV2. Spike TV started airing MMA in 2005 with a partnership with the UFC and the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Bellator kicks off its three-event 2013 monthly "Summer Series" later this month on Spike TV before settling into the fall season.