Bellator Fighting Championships, the tournament-based promotion, is moving their broadcast from Saturdays to Fridays for their next season, which is expected to start in March. Instead of competing with UFC pay-per-view and Fox events, which normally air on Saturdays, Bellator will now go up against "The Ultimate Fighter," and promotions such as MFC and XFC, which usually air on HDNet, and possibly Showtime airings of Strikeforce: Challengers and M-1 Global bouts.
USA Today spoke to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney about the change:
"We didn't really dig into the analysis and try to assess who was one, who was two and who was three, or what we were trying to avoid the most," he said. "It just kind of came down to an analysis of, is there a night where all the factors made it to where we can maximize live-event attendance, where we can reach the largest audience from an television perspective, to give MMA fans an opportunity to really make a night for themselves with Bellator."
Bellator will move to Spike, the UFC's cable TV home until Saturday, in 2013, but the 2012 season will continue to air on MTV2. The upcoming season will feature fights between welterweight champ Ben Askren and Douglas Lima, Hector Lombard and Alexander Shlemenko's rematch, plus welterweight and bantamweight titles.
The promotion has consistently put on exciting fights, but they were lost upon an MMA audience that would focus on the UFC. Michael Chandler's upset of Eddie Alvarez was one of the year's best fights, but went against UFC 139, and aired not long before Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua's epic bout.
Friday means that Bellator will no longer battle with these events, but it's not a perfect day. Bellator will still face plenty of competition on Fridays, both from other MMA offerings and from other sports.
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