With the UFC
joining forces with FOX instead of inking a new deal with Spike TV, it only seems natural that Bellator
will eventually fill the MMA
void for Spike TV. But as much as fans and pundits alike have already pegged Bellator as Spike TV-bound, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney says it's not that simple.
"Viacom is hugely, hugely successful entertainment empire that has motion pictures and television networks underneath that umbrella and they do extremely well on multiple fronts," Rebney said Monday on The MMA Hour. "And there's a lot of really smart people who makes decisions as to who goes where and who does what, when certain programming premieres and when certain programmings does the things that it does."
Even though Bellator is under a contract with MTV Networks, which owns MTV, MTV2, Comedy Central, Spike TV and many other channels, it depends on the overall strategy of MTV. Where Bellator ends up in the near future will be left up to programming executives and it's not his call.
"My job is really, truly to build this brand," Rebney said. "To produce unbelievable shows, deliver them to our partners and try to keep signing world class fighters like the Pat Currans of the world, the [Rene] Nazares and the Mike Chandlers and the Eddies (Alvarez)."
Bellator debuted in 2009 with ESPN Deportes and then ran season two and three on Fox Sports Net in 2010. This past April, Bellator left the land of tape-delay when the Chicago-based company signed on with MTV 2.
Whether or not Bellator finds itself on Spike TV, the promotion, now around 10 months into its three-year deal with MTV Networks, is very happy with its current situation, consistently putting up solid numbers
for MTV 2.
"What happens in the future will ultimately happen in the future wherever it goes, but boy, have we been happy in our place with MTV2, what's going on and the building out of stronger ratings and bigger numbers and the expansion of the demo," he says. "It's just been awesome."
Rebney would agree though, that the UFC's deal with FOX was a positive for everyone. Rebney says UFC's presence on FOX and its family of networks will only introduce the sport to more fans.
"I think it's good for Bellator, I think it's good for the sport of MMA and it remains to see how that will work out with the UFC, but on its face, it sure doesn't look like a bad situation."