Bellator Fighting Championships kicks off its fourth season on the first weekend of March, and again, they'll be on a new network and on a new night. MTV2 will air Bellator's fights live on Saturday nights starting Mar. 5.
The good news is that the tournament-based promotion will be live, something they didn't have with Fox Sports, their previous home. The bad news is that Saturday nights are owned by the UFC and Strikeforce. Will Bellator face a conflict?
"That's part of the magic we have here," [Bellator CEO Bjorn] Rebney said. "When I was sitting down with the MTV folks, they said, 'Look, if there's a big UFC event, if there's a pay-per-view event, we'll kick our show an hour or two earlier so that it can be an MMA night for fans.' They can go from MTV2 to Spike TV or go from MTV2 to pay-per-view.
Bellator's hope is that MMA fans can make a night of it. For MTV and Spike's parent company, Viacom, this is a dream come true. Fans can stay with their company for hours of MMA watching. On Mar. 19, for example, a fight can watch Bellator's event in Oklahoma before tuning into UFC 128.
But Bellator will run into Strikeforce trouble on their very first week. The same night that Bellator kicks off their welterweight tourney in California, Strikeforce will put two belts on the line in Ohio, and in their regular timeslot, the two would conflct for an hour.