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Bellator to Stream Preliminary Fights On Spike, Still Not Admitting They’re Leaving MTV2

Bellator is really stepping up their game with these promo videos. VidProps: BellatorMMA/YouTube

Well this is interesting: following in the pioneering steps of the UFC, Bellator is announcing that they will begin streaming the undercard fights on the series of tubes known as the internet.

That’s not the interesting part.   The interesting part is who they’re partnering with: Spike. Yep, those guys.

According to a press release sent to the CagePotato Desk for Serious Journalism, You Guys (not actually a real place), the undercard fights will go live on at 7pm ET as a lead-in for the main card broadcasts on MTV2 starting with the season premiere this Saturday at 9pm. As we reported last week, the main cards will also be broadcast in HD on EPIX, which we personally confirmed is a extant channel that wasn’t made up by some Viacom dude with a stupid-long job title.

The press release included a quote from some Viacom dude (Executive Vice President, Digital Entertainment, MTV Networks Entertainment Group), a guy by the name of Erik Flannigan:

“Fight fans have been coming to our site for years for great mixed martial arts clips and information,” said Flannigan. “Now we are thrilled to provide them with action-packed live fighting each week.”

“We are thrilled to join forces with,” said Bellator head honcho 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.”

Now, call us crazy, but it seems like that move from MTV2 to Spike that everybody says is happening for Bellator, but Rebney denies every chance he gets – it’s happening. Rebney and company are slowly backing in to this whole Spike transition, all the while saying, “No, us? Move to Spike? We love MTV, and MTV loves us. Why should we move? We just left our toothbrush at Spike’s house totally by accident.  Hey, can you help us move some furniture around this weekend?”

That’s how it starts. First it’s just a toothbrush, maybe some body wash. Next thing MTV knows, Bellator is staying out all night, not calling, always claiming to be busy. Then one day they see Bellator wearing one of Spike’s old button down shirts and everyone is talking about how good they look since the two split up.

We just hope MTV can move on in a mature way, but you know they’ll probably just throw themselves at their old flame.


Cagepotato Comments

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XENOPHON- September 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm
hahaha, the children. I got it.
O Chan- September 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm
This is a tricky question. There can be any number of reasons. But for starters, if there would be a simulcast, it would have to be all or none. The two nets couldn't choose which areas would broadcast the fights and which ones won't. Most cable nights are a dual feed (east coast vs. west coast), the smaller nets are single. These are national cable nets so all their deals are done on a national level and not a regional (ie like a lot of regional Fox Sports nets).
I'm assuming you mean that the two nets would simulcast the Bellator fights. Very rarely would a group of nets do such a thing. The only one I can recall to do so recently would be the Discover nets for their mini-series LIFE. Which to them was a major broadcast event and had huge advertiser dollars tied into it. The main reason why nets don't do this is because the two nets would essentially cannibalize each other. Essentially when a net brokers a deal with a national advertiser (ie any advertiser that isn't a local ad for the dealership down the block or any direct response - aka the Sham-Wow or the Snuggie) the deal guarantee is based on the number of impressions (ie the total number of viewers who tune-in). The only exception would be the Super Bowl, but that's a totally different animal. So when you run the same program on two different channels you run the risk of splitting the audience. Any ratings delivery that is short of what the deal guarantees results in nets having to give up ad inventory to make good the ratings shortfall. In turn, it means less ad space to sell for additional dollars.
Now the argument can be made that both nets are part of Viacom and at the end of the day, the liability/bills are all going to the same place, but the reality is that every net is run independently of any other subsidiary of the same media group. Think of it as the WEC and UFC right after Zuffa acquired the WEC and before they started absorbing all the heavier guys (and eventually the whole org). As far as advertisers see it, they don't do deals with Viacom, they do deals with MTV2 and they do deals with Spike. To them, dealing with MTV2 and dealing with Spike are as closely related to their deals as are the ones with FX, ESPN, Fuse, etc. I like to think of cable nets as my future children. You'd have your smart ones (Discovery, Nat Geo), your athletic ones (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU), the ones who aren't athletic, but think they are (Versus), your slutty ones (E!, MTV), the ones that actually do something with their lives (CNN, CNBC), the gay one (Bravo, VH-1), the "special-one" (TLC, TruTV), (and the ones your not sure you really fathered (BET, Univision, TeleMundo).
And in other news, how about Diaz being Diaz?
XENOPHON- September 7, 2011 at 10:22 am
@O Chan
I think you have a better command than all others here over specific channels vs their viewer numbers. My gut feeling says your right on the mark about MTV not in every bundle.
Here is a question to you from me.
Why can't Bellator be broadcast on both Spike and MTV where there are coverage lapses?
O Chan- September 7, 2011 at 8:48 am
I meant Xeno, my bust.
O Chan- September 7, 2011 at 8:45 am
Hey Xeon,
Is it just me, or is their a faint feeling of deja-vu going on here?
Anyways, interesting move here on Bellator's behalf. I won't go into my opinion on Viacom vs. News Corps because I pretty much beat that one to death.
I do find it interesting that of the two Viacom nets, they chose to have the prelims on a network that has about 90 million in their distribution web compared to the main card which is on a net with 80 million homes. I know 10 mil might not seem like a big margin, but you also need to consider that some of the homes which carry MTV2 may not necessarily have it in their basic cable package which will also limit the number of homes that have the capability of airing the main card.
XENOPHON- September 7, 2011 at 12:46 am
You fail to understand that during a contract negotiation there is a legal requirement for non-disclosure.
There are reasons for this for FOX/UFC, Spike/UFC, MTV/Bellator, and Spike/Bellator. In either of these cases, if one deal fell through, the parties would want to revert back to the original deals.
Also, there is problems with share values and trading with concerns "Insider Information." The bigger winners are SPIKE and Bellator. Their fights will continue to be free, and the fan base already exists. Flannigan was 100% correct.
Bjorn Rebney simply exploited the void. This allows him to build out his stables rapidly. Instead of TUF, smart money see's Bellator air their off the street tryouts. Such programming will easily rival the phony, scripted and way too drawn out TUF bullshit.
As I predicted, VIACOM is going to eventually catch and surpass FOX. In doing so they don't have to deal with the blow back from the Fertitta shell games and mafia ties, from the antics of Bozo Dana, and the fake fights that Silva pulls from his ass to keep the UFC ratings propped up.
We may even soon get to see Joe "Bong" Rogan commentating for Bellator.
Todd M- September 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm
Hilarious Rex, articles like this are why I come to this site, keep em' coming playa
Viva Hate- September 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm
MTV2>MTV, that is all.
Fried Taco- September 6, 2011 at 11:45 am
What does the M in MTV stand for again?