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Viacom purchases majority stake of Bellator

Bellator took a big step towards competing with the UFC earlier today when it was announced that television company Viacom, the parent company of stations such as MTV, SpikeTV, and VH1, purchased a majority stake of the promotion. While Bellator currently airs on MTV2 on Saturday nights, the organization will move to Spike TV in 2013 when Spike’s television contract with the UFC runs out.

UFC and Spike cut ties earlier this year when UFC signed a deal with the FOX network. UFC had the chance to purchase back their library from Spike, which would have allowed Bellator to move to their new station in 2012, but declined to do so. Season six of Bellator, which starts in early 2012, could move to a different night but will remain on MTV2 for the year.

Bellator’s highest viewership on MTV2 is under 350,000 homes. That number is expected to increase when they move to SpikeTV. UFC events regularly do over one million viewers on the network.

News of this purchase will ensure that Bellator will be around for the long haul, and while they may never reach the level of success as the UFC, they now have a solid foundation and won’t fall by the wayside anytime soon like many other MMA promotions have done over the years.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney will remain the head of the organization.

When Bellator makes the move to SpikeTV in 2013, they’ll not only air live events, but they’ll also put together highlight shows much like the current UFC Unleashed program that runs on Spike.

  • cool. I’d like to see Bellator compete with the UFC if nothing else to keep Dana and the Ferttitas on their toes in keeping good matchmaking and exciting fights prevalent to make sure the competition doesnt get one up on them,
    Bellators tournament format is something that the UFC should consider adopting as they have insanely deep rosters in comparison and it really makes for a clear cut contender without people having to resort to MMAmath in order to make that decision.
    Bellator over the past few years has been really gaining some steam and Im happy that they are getting a legup here.
    Too bad Saunders is going to win this tourney, beat Askren and then defect right back to the UFC.

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  • JBAR says:

    This should be good for Bellator, Spike and the fans. Hard to find a downside other than it has to wait until 2013.

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