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Budhisten 12-14-2010 11:52 AM

Bellator finds unlikely new home

The latest channel to venture into televising live mixed martial arts fights is a network few had expected: MTV2.

Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that it has reached a three-year deal to air live fights on MTV2, starting in 2011. Bellator will continue with its seasonal format of 12-week, eight-fighter tournaments, with the next tournament beginning in March.

At first blush, MMA and MTV might seem like strange bedfellows. For that matter, MTV and any sport would seem to be a strange pairing -- isn't MTV supposed to be music television?

But there's a lot of overlap between the young audience MTV reaches and the young audience MMA reaches, and Eric Conte of MTV2 said in a statement that his network viewed MMA as a natural extension of what it already offers.

"MMA is at the top of our audience's wish list, and partnering with Bellator to bring live events and specials to MTV2 made complete sense since our viewers are so hungry to see more MMA on-air," Conte said.

There are a lot of details that still need to be ironed out, including times, dates and venues for Bellator fights. But with MTV2 in about 77 million households, this has to be considered a much better deal for Bellator than its previous contracts with ESPN Deportes (which aired all fights on tape delay) and Fox Sports Net (which used Bellator as filler programming squeezed in between local sports).

And for MMA fans, a new channel jumping into the live MMA business has to be considered a very good thing. Bellator has given fans a good product for two years, and this TV deal ensures that there's more to come.

How awesome is this? :)

Rauno 12-14-2010 12:09 PM

It's this awesome! :) Glad to see they got a deal.

Couchwarrior 12-14-2010 01:02 PM


isn't MTV supposed to be music television?
What?:confused02: I thought MTV was short for Mreality show TeleVision.

Just kidding. I'm actually old enough to remember the time when they played music videos on that channel.

Magog 12-14-2010 01:18 PM

It's not that I'm not happy about it getting on tv....

this kinda makes 0 sense. I dun know... what's the longevity of mtv 2 shows?

I'm glad mma is accepted enough to get this deal... but is it a good deal>?

Budhisten 12-14-2010 02:24 PM

It's a three year deal, so Bellator have to make the most of it and expand their brand... That way they could have much better chances of getting an extension or even a better deal :)

The cool thing about this is that the people who watch MTV2 are the people who may be future fans of the sport, which is a good thing :)

Ares Caesar 12-14-2010 03:48 PM


Originally Posted by Magog (Post 1321128)
It's not that I'm not happy about it getting on tv....

this kinda makes 0 sense. I dun know... what's the longevity of mtv 2 shows?

I'm glad mma is accepted enough to get this deal... but is it a good deal>?

Of course it is, for several reasons;

1) MTV2 is on virtually EVERY cable/satellite package, unlike former channels such as VS (WEC). More viewers.

2) MTV2 will be airing them LIVE, and unaffected by other shows. Unlike Fox Sports Net which CONSTANTLY let other local sports run into Bellators time, MTV2 will actually likely have Bellator running into other programs instead of vice versa. You have no idea how many times I had my local baseball teams TALK show running into Bellator and having to wait HOURS for Bellator to show because of it. Now I'll get to watch Bellator LIVE when its actually supposed to air.

3) New fans will tune in. MTV2 has a lot of younger and simply unaware of MMA viewers that will now be exposed to the sport. Gaining a larger audience for MMA is a great thing as it means more money for a sport that needs it badly. Hardcore fans are basically unaffected by this as any REAL MMA fan was going to watch Bellator regardless of what channel they were on.

4) MTV will definitely put a lot better effort into marketing Bellator than Fox Sports Net did. Bellator had some very exciting fights, and very exciting fighters (some who could EASILY fight in the UFC), and if they continue to put on shows like they did before, they'll quickly become a fast rising promotion and stage for building more MMA superstars (such as Eddie Alvarez).

While something like network TV would have been better, MTV2 is still a good deal, especially since its better than the one with FSN which constantly crapped on them.

Bellator is quickly becoming the best thing outside of the UFC for MMA (if they arent already).

Budhisten 12-14-2010 04:52 PM

More info:


A seemingly all-but-official deal with the FOX Entertainment Group wasn't in the cards for Bellator Fighting Championships, after all.

Officials today announced the mixed-martial-arts promotion has signed a three-year broadcasting deal with MTV2, which will air two annual 12-week seasons live in the cable station's 80 million homes in 2011. Additionally, "offseason" events will air live between seasons.

In an exclusive interview with (, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the organization was in "advanced negotiations" with three TV groups but that the MTV option was, by far, the most attractive.

"There is absolutely no question our first choice was MTV2," Rebney said today from Bellator's Chicago offices. "It's about who you reach and how reach them. There was no mistake in this deal or in this structure. TNT or USA or ESPN or FX or CBS or NBC or every TV station, the biggest concentration of men ages 12-34 is on MTV2. It's the same demo that lives and breathes MMA.

"If you're going to build a brand ... in this space, where could there be a better home? There's no question this was the No. 1 option."

MTV2 begins airing Bellator's fourth season, which again will travel to cities across the U.S. each week, in March.

Bellator gets year-round presence

Earlier this month, reported that Bellator was close to finalizing a deal with the FOX Entertainment Group that would put live shows on FX and highlights shows on FOX Sports Net, the organization's season-two and season-three home, and Fuel TV. Rebney declined to comment on any of the deals that failed to materialize. He confirmed there were options, but he said MTV2 was the best fit.

"There were options, but far and away, the top option and best alliance was with the MTV family and MTV2," he said. "When you're building out something like this, it's about growth and progression. ... If you hope to have success and be in business in the long term, you need to take steps to get this type of alliance."

Rebney divulged some additional deal points with In 2011, the organization hosts two 12-week seasons, which include 11 live events and a highlights-geared "Road to the Championship" special. Additionally, MTV2 will air three live events between seasons in 2011, which assures the fight promotion has a year-round presence (and that top fighters don't experience extended layoffs).

Each season in 2012 will get a few additional events, which means they'll run longer than three months each.

Additionally, the organization could move from its usual Thursday-night timeslots to a new day of the week. Weekend slots are a possibility.

Rebney said addition information about the deal, including replay times and other specialty programming, will be announced in the coming days.

Why MTV2?

Bellator focuses heavily on eight-slot tournaments in various weight classes. The combination of tourney and non-tourney bouts proved effective on FSN, but the organization continually dealt with headaches from preempted programming and shifting time slots. In fact, a few events didn't air live on a single FSN affiliate.

That's won't be the case with MTV2, and Rebney said the consistency was a major reason they went with the station.

MTV2 is a spin-off of MTV that launched in 1996. Once home strictly to music videos, the channel underwent a shift in 2003 with more specialty programming. Then in 2005, another relaunch saw the channel geared more toward the young-male demo with a smaller amount of music-related content. Today, MTV2 primarily features few music videos and focuses more on original programming and second-run content geared toward the young-male demo.

Rebney calls the Bellator-MTV2 alliance a "dream marriage" and a "perfect fit" (among other superlatives).

"The receptive nature was based on who their audience is," Rebney said of the Bellator-MTV2 talks. "If you were to carve out the perfect demographic ... this is it. This is the network with the biggest concentration of males 12-34 in all of television. That's verifiable. ... And MTV2 is available in virtually every household."

So would Rebney actually prefer MTV2 and its 80 million households over, say, FX and its 100 million?

"Absolutely," he said. "Three-year deals in TV are extremely, extremely rare. This partnership – and I say partnership – is magical."

Squirrelfighter 12-14-2010 05:28 PM

Smiles from ear to ear, finally being an MTV watching loser pays off!

Fine Wine 12-14-2010 09:22 PM


Originally Posted by Ares Caesar (Post 1321216)

Bellator is quickly becoming the best thing outside of the UFC for MMA (if they arent already).

Yeh, Strikeforce better get their act together quick smart because Bellator appears a lot more driven than them.

kantowrestler 12-15-2010 08:15 PM

Yeah, Bellator just said that they are tired of getting pushed back for other sports and that they don't get pushed back for anyone. Now they have a new home on a pretty good choice. Strikeforce is content to just sit on Showtime!:(

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