Media conglomerate Viacom, the company that owns both Spike TV and MTV, has jumped into the MMA game with the purchase of Bellator Fighting championships. USA Today reports that Viacom now has a majority stake in Bellator, and their fights will start airing on Spike in 2013, moving from MTV2.
Spike had a longtime relationship with the UFC, beginning with "The Ultimate Fighter" in 2005. That will end this December when the 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" comes to a close, and the UFC jumps to Fox networks. Spike will have rights to the UFC library until the end of 2012. When that agreement ends, Spike will have Bellator and its tournament-based fights in place.
Bellator began airing preliminary fights on Spike's website earlier this year, and CEO Bjorn Rebney told Cagewriter in a previous interview that he was excited to work with Spike because they already understand MMA.
"We're a great position in that our deal is with MTV networks, so it's that larger corporate umbrella. They control Spike, MTV, MTV2. You never know what the future will bring. The foreseeable future will be what it is, which is MTV2 and Spike.com for the prelims, but Spike is better than anyone in this space. They get it better than anyone."
This is nothing but good news for fans. It ensures that Bellator will be viable for years to come, giving fans more choices for MMA. With the UFC on Fox networks and Bellator with Viacom, there will be a greater volume of fights. Though the move to Spike is more than a year away, it will also give fans the option to watch in HD, a choice that doesn't exist with MTV2.
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