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Tag: MTV2

Friday Night Fights: Who Will Win the Ratings War Between Bellator and ‘TUF’?


(Will MMA finally be able to overcome the mythical Friday Night Death Slot?)

By Jason Moles

Last week, it was announced that Bellator Fighting Championships would be changing the night they broadcast their weekly fights, beginning with their Season 6 tournaments in March 2012.

Instead of competing for an audience on Saturday nights, when most fans are preoccupied with UFC pay-per-views and college football, Bjorn Rebney in conjunction with Viacom, has determined the best night for the largest number of MMA fans to enjoy the show is Friday. Good choice? Perhaps.

Also airing on Friday nights starting in 2012 is the UFC’s flagship reality series, The Ultimate Fighter. In its fifteenth season, Zuffa decided to mix it up a bit in hopes of revitalizing fan interest and attracting new viewers by airing the fights live.

So will Bellator gain any ground if they’re still competing with the world’s largest MMA promotion? Will the in-house shenanigans, trash-talking coaches, and UFC brand be able to attract a larger audience than an entire night of live fights, some of which have been classified as ‘Super‘? Not only can we not be in two places at once, we can’t watch two television programs at the same time either. So, who wins the ratings war?

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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 Spike.com at 7pm ET as a lead-in for the main card broadcasts on MTV2 starting 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.”

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Bellator Planning 2011 Canadian Invasion

Propelled by the impressive viewership of his promotion’s first three events of season four on MTV2, Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed to CagePotato.com yesterday that plans are currently underway to take his show on the road to Canada some time before the end of 2011.

“Earlier today I had a 45-minute conversation with the group that we work with who distribute Bellator programming up in Canada, The Score, about a collection of different venues, sites and dates that we’re going after to try to bring Bellator Fighting Championships to some time in the near future,” Rebney says.

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Bellator Announces Network Deal With MTV2….Wait, What?? *Updated*

"…and Ben, I have you down to guest host on ‘Saturday Drop a Deuce’.  That’s cool, right?"

A press release today announces that Bellator Fighting Championships has reached an agreement with MTV Networks to air live events on MTV2.  The three-year deal, which begins in March of 2011, provides for broadcast of two seasons of tournaments a year, "plus a collection of special feature events."  Eric Conte, Senior VP in charge of Programming and Production for MTV2, is quoted as saying that "MMA is at the top of our audience’s wish list" and that a partnership with the surging promotion "made complete sense".  (We haven’t received word yet on whether Conte was the guy that green-lit Wrestling Society X.)

The news comes as a surprise, as Bellator had been expected to announce an extension of its partnership with Fox Entertainment Group, parent of Fox Sports Net and FX.

Obviously, this is big news for Bellator, which has been hampered by lack of a stable time slot on FSN and plagued by last minute preemptions.  MTV2 is a step up on the distribution ladder, and more people will have access to the weekly shows than ever before.  As the press release noted, there is a nice dovetail in the demographics for the network and the Bellator fanbase.

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‘UFC All Access: Wanderlei Silva’ Buried on MTV2

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I guess it wasn’t enough that the UFC refused to film Wanderlei Silva training at Xtreme Couture for his “All Access” special — it now looks like the show won’t even be broadcast on Spike, or during a time when most people are awake. UFC.com now lists the special as debuting on 12/27 at 1 a.m. ET/PT, on MTV2, home of Jackass-ripoff Team Sanchez and old reruns of Celebrity Deathmatch. Man, Dana White doesn’t fuck around when it comes to holding grudges! (Props: MMA Mania)

In other UFC-on-TV news, CNBC’s special “Ultimate Fighting: From Bloodsport to Big Time” — which takes “a no-holds barred look at the business behind the nation’s fastest growing sports franchise,” — airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET. It’s unlikely that the documentary will uncover much dirt about the reportedly shaky business side of the company; considering that the documentary refers to MMA as “ultimate fighting,” we’d guess that CNBC is pretty far in the UFC’s pocket, and the special will be little more than a fluff piece. But if you’re curious, check out the preview, which features lovable loser Rich Franklin explaining that he gets both nervous and anxious before his fights.

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