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Tag: Spike TV

Are Events Like UFC Fight Night 32 Why the UFC’s Popularity is Suffering?


(It’s almost 2014. Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort are still main-eventing UFC cards. / photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Cards like UFC Fight Night 32 are contributing to the death of MMA’s popularity in the US.

In case you haven’t noticed, the UFC’s numbers have been atrocious lately. UFC 165, a card headlined by the light heavyweight champion of the world and future of the company Jon Jones, drew a paltry 325,000 buys. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos III—the finale to the greatest trilogy in UFC heavyweight history—drew a slightly higher number at UFC 166.

The UFC has had woes on free television too. TUF is regularly breaking the wrong kinds of records. And the ratings on FOX Sports 1 have been inconsistent at best. They started strong with a tremendous 1.7 million (back to 2011 Spike TV levels) for UFC Fight Night 26, dropped 54% to 824,000 viewers for UFN 27, fell a further 35% to 539,000 for UFN 28, rose to 638,000 for 29, and stayed at that level for the next fight night card on FOX Sports 1, UFC Fight Night 31 (a.k.a. UFC Fight for the Troops 3).

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[EXCLUSIVE] Greg Jackson Discusses New Challenge of Coaching on Bellator ‘Fight Master’


(Greg poses with two of his bitter rivals, who he definitely did *not* split a basket of hot wings with later that evening. / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

Bellator’s Spike TV reality fight competition show, Fight Master, debuts tonight (10 PM / 9 PM Central). On the show, fighters compete for $100,000 and a Bellator contract as a part of a team led by one of four coaches. Looking towards tonight’s premiere, we sat down with one of those coaches — Greg Jackson — to discuss the unique challenges the show posed to him as a coach and more.

CagePotato: Why did you decide to take part in Fight Master?

Greg Jackson: I think it’s because I do MMA all the time. It was just something different. There are different rules. Not so much the rules in the cage but in terms of the whole structure of the tournament and this amount of time to prepare fighters.  I look at it as a challenge — can I still do well with all these new parameters and this new structure? You give me a new challenge and I’m the type of guy who likes to figure it out, like a puzzle.

CP: There are four of you main coaches on Fight Master (Jackson, Joe Warren, Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock) but each of you brought assistants along. Who did you bring with you as assistant coaches for the show?

GJ: I brought two coaches — Joey  Villasenor and Damacio Page.  They are two guys with lots of experience. Not only are they excellent coaches but they come from Albuquerque like I do. They come from the same neighborhoods and they can help give it an Albuquerque feel.

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‘Fight Master: Bellator MMA’ Cast Announced With 32 Welterweights, Including Joe Riggs and ‘Lelo’ Aurelio


(I’ve got some bad news — Joe *is* the show’s token hot chick. / Photo by Esther Lin)

Spike TV has just released the full cast list for Fight Master: Bellator MMA, the upcoming reality show in which 32 fighters compete under the direction of four well-known coaches — Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson, and Joe Warren — for a spot in an upcoming Bellator tournament. The inaugural welterweight season will premiere on Wednesday, June 19th at 10:00 PM, and features a few notable names among the lesser-known prospects. For instance…

Joe Riggs: By far the most experienced fighter in the field, Riggs has competed extensively for the UFC, WEC, and Strikeforce. His sole Bellator appearance in May 2011 resulted in a knockout loss to Bryan Baker. Riggs is currently on a five-fight win streak.

Marcus “Lelo” Aurelio: The Capoeira expert’s flashy kicks have resulted in some must-see knockouts. Six of Aurelio’s career wins have come within the first minute of the fight. However, his Bellator debut last November resulted in a decision loss against Chris Franck.

Chris Lozano: The “Cleveland Assassin” has competed in three different Bellator welterweight tournament seasons since 2011, but has been unable to progress past the semi-finals. In a way, this is like a Comeback season for him.

Andy Uhrich: Good to see you again, buddy!

Several of the other cast-members have also competed previously in Bellator, including Josh Quayhagen (who’s already gone 3-1 for the promotion), Darryl Cobb, Frank Carrillo, and Jason Norwood. Check out the full cast-list after the jump, and click here to watch a teaser video for the show featuring the coaches and fighters.

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Master of Foresight Greg Jackson Shows Shocking Lack of Foresight in Joining Bellator/Randy Couture Reality Show


(“OK, Jon, let’s call it a day. I’ve got to go get some fans.”)

Greg Jackson, world-renowned mixed martial arts trainer and Dana White-described “fucking sport killer” is known by MMA fans near and far for his ability to predict the mindsets of opposing fighters and react accordingly. He has created intricate, masterly crafted gameplans that have in turn helped propel the likes of Georges St. Pierre, Rashad Evans, and Jon Jones to the ultimate level of MMA glory. But as they say, “Those who can’t do, teach.” “They” were clearly referring to none other than Greg Jackson, who stated in an interview today that he didn’t “foresee any future problems” with the UFC despite the fact that he’s hopped on board Bellator’s upcoming TUF-ripoff reality show:

No, I don’t think so because like Randy (Couture) I’ve worked with Bellator before, and I don’t think it should be a problem. My fighters are my fighters, and I’m me and like Frank (Shamrock) said as well, I think it’s good for the sport.

Even Dana (White) would admit that it’s good for the sport to have other organizations around.  So I don’t foresee any problems.

Oh Greg, you ignorant slut. After all this time in the game, you think you would have a better understanding of The Baldfather’s view on friendly competition.

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Spike TV Reveals Details of Two New MMA Reality Shows Featuring Randy Couture


(Photo via MMAFighting.com)

Earlier today, Spike TV and Bellator executives and former two-division UFC world champion Randy Couture hosted a media conference call to give more details about the two television projects “The Natural” will be involved with as part of his multi-year agreement with the cable network and rising fight organization.

The first, titled Fight Master: Bellator MMA will be a reality television fight competition show, reminiscent of the one Spike famously created with the UFC back in 2005, which also featured Couture as a coach on its first season. This time around, Couture will serve as a coach along with Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson and Bellator fighter Joe Warren. Thirty-two welterweight contestants will vie for a spot in the Fight Master house, and sixteen will make it in to compete for $100,000 and a slot in a future Bellator tournament.

Spike and Bellator say that Fight Master: Bellator MMA will tape in the fall of 2013 and that the show will feature more fighter choice and autonomy than in past shows of this type. The Emmy award-winning Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, who created The Amazing Race will serve as the show’s executive producers.

Spike and Bellator also announced a second reality show that Couture will be a part of. MMA Rescue will feature Couture using “his years of expertise in the business of mixed martial arts to help turn struggling gyms into thriving enterprises.” That’s actually new ground for MMA programming and sounds pretty cool, as far as we’re concerned. Fight fans who have, for years, been subjected to watching restaurants, bars, tattoo shops, and hair salons get turned around will now get their very own version of the business rescue reality-show format.

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You Knew This Was Coming: Dana White Blasts Randy Couture for Signing Deal With Spike/Bellator


(Go on. Ask him if he gives a f*ck.)

The odds of Randy Couture getting a cushy no-show desk job with the UFC have officially dropped to zero. In the wake of Couture accepting a position to be the new superstar face of Spike TV and Bellator, UFC president Dana White tore into the Natural, blasting his lack of loyalty and even questioning his character as a human being. Here’s what DW had to say about it yesterday:

I’ll say my peace on Randy Couture, and after today, I’ll never mention him again. The bottom-line is this: When that whole thing went down with Randy years ago, we weren’t on the best of terms. Now, before that happened, Randy Couture was on the Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell deal. He was getting a salary, he was in with the company, he was one of those guys. Then he tries to do all this stuff, pull all this bullshit with Affliction, loses and comes back. So, it took me a long time to warm up to him. His lawyer, who I can’t stand, calling our lawyer every day, saying, ‘We want to come back, we want that job again, we want to work for the UFC,’ and all this stuff. Finally, I just say, ‘yes,’ and give him the FOX [commentary] deal

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Randy Couture Signs Multi-Year Deal With Spike TV, Will Appear as a Coach on Bellator’s Reality Series


(Bellator’s new MMA competition show unveils its wrestling coach and “swag advisor.” / Photo via Getty)

UFC legend Randy Couture — who helped usher the UFC into the mainstream as a coach on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 — will be returning to his Spike TV stomping grounds this year. Except this time, it’ll be in the service of a different MMA promotion looking to build their own brand on the guy-centric cable channel. No, this is not going to sit well with You Know Who. SI.com’s Loretta Hunt has the details:

SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.

As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.

Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.

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Bad News: The Spike TV/K-1 Partnership is Apparently Dead in the Water Already


(Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.)

First and foremost, we have to thank CP reader Walter Cardenas, who passed along the news (or lack thereof) regarding the much anticipated Spike TV/K-1 deal that was set to kick off in late 2012. And unfortunately, those of you who were looking forward to seeing the Japanese promotion both stateside and on a semi-major network in 2013 are in for some bad news, because according to multiple sources, the deal has already been killed. For starters, the promotion’s webpage on Spike.com is blank. And in less speculative news, Spike TV president Kevin Kay stated the following in an interview with MMAFighting:

We’re probably not going to move forward and continue with K-1. It was a little bit of an experiment. Those guys are great. We’re trying to figure out our kickboxing plans. It did okay. It was a digital play (K-1 aired on Spike.com late 2012). There are other things we can do in the kickboxing spectrum.

News of K-1′s demise (you know, their fourth or so in the past few years) started way back in July of 2012, when promotion insiders declared that the event they had targeted for the end of December at the Madison Square Garden would be “unfeasible.”

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Crazy Enough to Be True: Ten Wild MMA Predictions for 2013


(You see, kids, this is why we don’t break the fourth rule of Project Mayhem. Photo via Complex)

By Jason Moles

As is customary, nay tradition, around these parts, we’re hitting the eggnog early and often this week — thus, the obligatory Top 10 list to close out another year in the world of mixed martial arts. It’s not all fluff, though: Last year we predicted a champion would test positive for a banned substance and Brock Lesnar would retire. Not bad, huh? So grab a seat while we break out the crystal ball and see what 2013 has in store for us.

1.) Showtime stays in the MMA biz, will announce deal with Invicta FC and others.

MMA is just too popular to completely wash your hands of. Showtime may finally be done with Strikeforce, but that only means they’re now free to partner up with the likes of all-female Invicta FC or the World Series of Fighting, both of which could be looking for more permanent homes after their early success in 2012. Don’t let the Invicta PPV news fool you; they can’t win that battle. No matter who inks the deal, expect Showtime to counter-program at least one UFC event.

2.) A Ronda Rousey loss brings about the swift execution of women’s MMA in the UFC.

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Report: Bellator’s Spike TV Debut Targeted for January 10th in Atlantic City [UPDATE: OR IS IT??]


(Taffer my good man, you finally have some competition.)

In its seven-season history, Bellator’s events have bounced from Friday nights to Thursdays, to Saturdays, and back to Fridays again. That, coupled with the promotion’s changes in cable partners (anybody remember the ESPN Deportes days?) and its traveling-circus approach to event scheduling, may have worked against the organization gaining a foothold in the market over the years.

Luckily, Bellator’s impending Spike TV deal will give its events a sharp boost in exposure — and they’ll no longer be shown on a night that translates into guaranteed death for viewership numbers. MMAJunkie is reporting that Bellator’s first event of the Spike era is slated for Thursday, January 10th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As Junkie wrote, the event will serve as Bellator 85, and will air on Spike TV following TNA Impact Wrestling.

Switching to Thursday nights can only be a good thing for Bellator, which has averaged just 168,700 viewers per broadcast this season on MTV2. Coincidentally, the UFC may be moving their own Friday-night cable show — The Ultimate Fighter — to a different night as well. Although Jon Jones’s manager Malki Kawa and UFC president Dana White both claimed recently that TUF was moving back to Wednesdays, FX’s Vice President of Media Relations told MMAFighting that such a move was “highly unlikely,” adding: “FX has not announced the official date or night that the next installment of TUF will air…The official announcement will be coming in the next two or three weeks.”

Bellator 85 will feature the winners of Spike TV’s “Vote for the Fight” fan poll — we already submitted a write-in vote for War Machine vs. Mika Tan’s Ex-Boyfriend II — but no matchups have been formally announced yet.

Update: The story just took a weird turn — now an unnamed Spike TV exec is saying that Bellator’s Thursday-night move isn’t official yet: “We are still deciding a few options, still looking at staying on Fridays or moving to the old TUF slot on Wednesdays.” Basically, the cable networks are playing a game of scheduling chicken. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer explains after the jump…

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