Bellator has signed a three-year deal with MTV2 to air the promotions' fights live, starting with the fourth season in March 2011. The tournament-based promotion, with champions like Ben Askren, will air on MTV2, a station once known for music programming but has grown to air sports-ish programming like "Bully Beatdown," a show hosted by Strikeforce's Jason "Mayhem" Miller, and "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory," which follows professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek.
From the Bellator press release:
MTV2, which features the highest concentration of M12-24 and M12-34 in television, will telecast two of these LIVE tournaments per year, plus a collection of special feature events. The first tournament will premiere in March 2011.
"MTV2 is the perfect home for the intense mixed martial arts action of Bellator," Eric Conte, SVP, Programming and Production, MTV2. "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."
The key word in that is live. Bellator was with Fox Sports Net for their last two seasons, and they were often pre-empted by other local programming. In Chicago, Bellator's hometown, the fights rarely aired live, and sometimes were started after midnight. By the time the fights aired, the results were widely known.
Bellator recognized that and made a change. They also appear to be going after a younger demographic, as most MMA promotions covet the 18-49 year-old male demographic.