More than a dozen times during a nearly hour-long interview, Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney referred to the cable network Spike TV as "the home of MMA" on television.
Bellator and Spike are both owned by Viacom, and Rebney is gambling that Spike's reach and influence can take his burgeoning mixed martial arts company to the top of the industry.
It will be a long and difficult road, to be certain. The UFC is almost universally regarded as the major league of MMA and, indeed, it was UFC programming that helped build Spike's brand.
Spike officials, of course, point out that they also helped spur the UFC's phenomenal growth from 2005 through 2011, when it went from near-bankruptcy to a global powerhouse worth in excess of $1 billion while broadcasting its programming on Spike.
"It's fair to say that we did great things for each other," Spike president Kevin Kay said.
For the last year, Bellator's shows were broadcast on Spike's website and on MTV2 as Spike TV'sRead More »from Bellator betting big on Spike TV's MMA reputation as it tries to ratchet up competition with UFC