Spike, the cable television home of the UFC since "The Ultimate Fighter" first appeared in 2005, now has a partnership with Bellator, the tournament-based promotion. Spike will air Bellator's preliminary bouts on their website, Spike.com. From the press release:
Spike.com will stream Bellator's live undercard fights each week from 7:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT, leading into MTV2's live coverage of the 5th season of Bellator Fighting Championships at 9 p.m. ET/PT. For the first time ever, Bellator will be simulcast in HD on EPIX.
"We are thrilled to join forces with Spike.com," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. "The Spike brand is synonymous with mixed martial arts worldwide and is another member of the MTV family, who does an incredible job in resonating with the hard-to-reach 18-to-34-year-old male audience."
This arrangement will start with Bellator 49, taking place this Saturday in Atlantic City, and will continue throughout the season, even as the UFC airs preliminary fights and Ultimate Fight Night 25 on Spike's cable channel.
With the UFC heading to Fox and its networks in the coming year, Spike will lose all of the live programming that the UFC provided. Bellator currently airs on MTV2, which has the same parent company as Spike. Could this partnership be a harbinger of Bellator's jump to the male-focused Spike in the future? Stay tyne.