A couple weeks back on The Bum Rush Radio Show we predicted that SPIKE TV would pick up the slack left by the exit of The Ultimate Fighter by putting together a different MMA-based reality show, likely with Bellator fighters. Considering they are all technically employees of the Viacom-owned channel since the media conglomerate purchased a majority stake in the promotion last month, it would make sense.
In our reality, they would put all of the upcoming opponents from a scheduled card in the same fighter house, which we know would never happen, but we can still dream, right?
Well, according to a report by SI’s Loretta Hunt we were half right.
SPIKE president Kevin Kay — TV executive responsible for bringing TUF from its original conception to reality, is planning a new MMA reality show that could go head to head with Fox’s incarnation of TUF starting in 2013.
Kay insists that the new show won’t be a carbon copy of the old one.
“One thing we won’t do is duplicate The Ultimate Fighter. It’s a great franchise and it’s going to go on to another network. I actually think the tournament format is a little bit like The Ultimate Fighter without the reality piece of it, per se, because every fighter is fighting three times over the course of the tournament to win the championship. You fight, you lose, you go home. There’s a lot of reality already baked into that idea. There’s different kinds of reality ideas that were starting to kick around — nothing we have our hearts set on yet — but we’re hearing lots of good ideas for reality programming around Bellator. But it won’t be 16 guys in a house. We’re not doing that show over again.”
He also touched on the technicality that will keep Bellator programming off of his channel for the next year and two months.
“While we own [The UFC fight] library, we can’t put another mixed martial arts promotion on Spike proper, on the linear network [until the agreement is up]. They could buy it back if they chose to. They chose not to do that. We have the library and we’ll use the library. I don’t have an opinion about [whether or not they decided not to buy the library back to block us from airing another promotion's fights for a year after our deal with them expires]. I think that’s their decision. We have the library and we’re using it because we’re paying for it and why wouldn’t we? Whatever their motives are for not wanting to take it back and put it somewhere else, you’d have to ask them.”
A true optimist if ever there was one, Kay is looking at the extended period between live MMA broadcasts on SPIKE as a positive thing.
“One of the great things about having this much time to prepare and having Bellator on MTV2 throughout next year, is we have the next 14-15 months to hear a lot of pitches, pick what we want to do, put things in production, (including) a lot of reality programming around Bellator, some shoulder programming. We’re going to take Bellator’s library of fights, see what’s there and see how we can package that because, for the fans, they’ve not seen most of these Bellator fighters before so we want to build those stars. And it’s actually fresh library product, so there’s lots we can do and we have 15 months to figure it out.”
Check out the rest of the interview HERE.