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Tag: Viacom

UFC 175 Proves the UFC Can Still Be the “Super Bowl of MMA” When It Wants To Be


(Two of the best fighters on earth about to enter unarmed combat. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Oversaturation. Lack of stars. Declining interest. Record-low numbers. An ephemeral casual fanbase. A hardcore fanbase that doesn’t care anymore. A resurgent competitor with a new, well-liked, adept president backed by a financial titan.

Those topics have all been under substantial discussion in the past few months–as they should be. Those are the very real, very pressing problems the UFC faces as we enter the second half of 2014.

But last night at UFC 175, the MMA world was able to forget all that–specifically because of the PPV’s main and co-main events.

The co-main event featured UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey taking on challenger Alexis Davis. As Rousey headed to the cage, I took to CagePotato’s Twitter and presciently stated Rousey-Davis would be the most one-sided fight we see all year. That’s exactly what it turned out to be. Rousey vs. Davis made Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie seem well-booked and competitive.

I know what you’re saying, “Why is the UFC-sponsored cash cow Ronda Rousey winning a squash match something to get pumped up about?”

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Report: Rampage Jackson vs. Roy Jones Jr. Slated for Year-End Boxing Match


(“…and as part of your signing bonus, we’re going to hook you up with a tricked-out, 2014 stretch Winnebago.” Photo props: Bellator MMA via mmanytt.se)

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is becoming quite the utility player for Viacom. With his Bellator MMA debut looming in the future and his TNA wrestling career already underway, Rampage is about to add boxing to his list of duties. And we’re not talking about beating up some random cans in Oklahoma — the former UFC/PRIDE star will reportedly be fighting none other than multi-divisional boxing champ Roy Jones Jr., as part of a pay-per-view event targeted for the end of the year. As MMAJunkie reports:

Viacom is expected to announce plans to go head-to-head with pay-per-view juggernaut Zuffa LLC and its UFC 168 offering at next week’s Bellator 97 event on Spike TV.

An unveiling of Bellator fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s plans with the promotion will likely include a pay-per-view boxing match with former multi-division boxing champ Roy Jones Jr., multiple sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

The fight is expected to take place at the end of the year, though a date and weight class for the bout could not immediately be confirmed. It’s also unclear how the event will be branded given Bellator and parent company Viacom’s focus on MMA.

“We’ve been talking to Roy and his people over a potential ‘Rampage’ vs. Roy fight for over seven months,” a representative from Jackson’s longtime team, Wolfslair MMA, told MMAjunkie.com. The rep requested anonymity due to the ongoing negotiations related to the matchup.

“If it happens, it would be an incredible fight,” the rep said. “Boxing and MMA have both been discussed, and (Bellator Chairman and CEO) Bjorn (Rebney) has been in these discussions every step of the way. I can’t say much more than that. We’ll see what happens.”

Bellator MMA officials declined to comment on the possible event.

Alright, two things…

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SPIKE to Release Bellator Video Game [VIDEO]


(Looks like Viacom is putting its cash behind its latest investment.)

Divorces can be so bitter, can’t they?

SPIKE is really rubbing in how much more they like their new wife’s kids than they do the ones they helped make. It must be hard for the UFC to  see them spending so much time with Bellator buying them ice cream and cotton candy, when they don’t even call them on their birthday or pay any child support.

They rubbed salt into the fresh wound this week when they announced their latest family outing: a new Bellator video game developed by their newly-formed SPIKE Games family.

Funny, they won’t even give their own kids their old home movies, yet they start a new company to help their stepkids prosper. That’s cold.

Kung-Fu Games, the group responsible for creating the somewhat underwhelming Supremacy MMA title, are helping with the project. They also worked on on the new Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat and Ugly Americans games released by 345 Games — the Viacom-owned collective made up of Spike Games and Comedy Central Games.

According to the release, the game, dubbed Bellator: Onslaught, should be out this summer.

Check out a sneak peek of the game after the jump.

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Taking a Page Out of ESPN’s Playbook, CBS Sports Calls Out Zuffa for ‘Bullying Tactics’ and So-Called Monopoly

You can likely add CBS Sports to the growing list of media outlets on the outside looking in at the boys club that is granted media access to UFC and Strikeforce events after publishing a scathing editorial today. The piece, entitled, “Calling out UFC is a losing fight, but it’s time to step into the cage,” ironically, focused on Zuffa’s heavy-handed press bans handed out when stories such as his get published and the disparity between the company’s gross revenues and total yearly fighter salaries.

As the writer Gregg Doyel, who admits to being a relatively new fan and reporter of the sport mentions, he is hopeful that things don’t change between him and Dana since he has been approved for a press pass for the next Strikeforce show and is remaining optimistic that he’ll still receive his promised media credentials. Take it from us, it ain’t gonna happen.

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Viacom’s Purchase of Bellator Fallout: Four Overlooked Things That Will Likely Happen Because of the Deal


(Well, at least *some* of the inevitable changes will be good.)

When it was announced today that media giant Viacom had purchased Bellator Fighting Championships, most of us probably overlooked the bigger picture of what the deal means to the landscape of MMA. At a glance, better financial backing and being on a more popular channel like Spike means better fights and bigger paychecks for fighters, but behind the scenes the scope of the deal is likely much bigger than we know and the aftershocks will be felt for some time.

Check out four of the biggest likelihoods that will come out of the purchase after the jump.

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Viacom Buys Majority Stake in Bellator; Spike to Begin Broadcasting Events in 2013


(Well, well, well…)

Spike TV will become the new home for Bellator starting in 2013. According to a new USA Today report, Viacom — the parent company of MTV Networks — has purchased a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships, signaling the official end to their six-year relationship with the UFC.

CEO Bjorn Rebney will remain in charge of Bellator. Speaking about the Viacom deal with USA Today, he said: “It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us, which is something that’s been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred…It alleviates those issues…It’s a very, very good day for mixed martial arts as a whole, because now you have two groups in the space that have a very substantial presence that obviously isn’t going to go anywhere for a very, very long time.”

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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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Exclusive: ProElite On the Verge of a New Broadcast Deal With CBS and Showtime


(It will be interesting to see how Viacom’s vested interest in the company will translate into its promotion of ProElite)

By Mike Russell

It looks like the proclamation UFC president Dana White made a few months ago that CBS will likely go head-to-head with his promotion again in the near future was right on the money.

Sources close to the promotion that was recently brought back from the verge of death by Stratus Media Group, who acquired a 95 percent ownership stake of the company in June, have informed CagePotato.com that ProElite is in the final stages of negotiations for a multi-year television deal with Viacom that will see its events broadcast on both Showtime and CBS starting in the first quarter of 2012.

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Loretta Hunt Says CBS Sports May ‘Cool’ on MMA Coverage Due to Zuffa’s Bush League Media Policies

(My God, the muckraking! Pic: Strikeforce)

After being denied media access to cover last weekend’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley for CBS Sports (and apparently buying a ticket and going anyway), longtime reporter Loretta Hunt conducted a video chat with fellow scribe Jason Probst on Monday to discuss the ongoing banishment of many of the sport’s best-known journalists from events controlled by the UFC. We missed it, but since Zuffa, LLC’s brazen efforts to marginalize media it doesn’t deem friendly enough to its own interests is perhaps the biggest story consistently ignored by “credentialed” MMA sites (for obvious reasons, right?), we figure some of it needs repeating.

For starters, Hunt claims the honchos at CBS Sports are not impressed that Zuffa continues to conduct media relationships like a 13-year-old girl deciding who can ride the pony at her birthday party. It appears that heavy-hitters like CBS are used to a certain amount of professionalism from the entities they cover and the UFC obviously sorely lacks in that department. Zuffa has been such a pain in the ass that Hunt says CBS might just chuck it the fuck-it bucket and stop covering MMA entirely. So, that seems counterproductive. Her quotes – with props to Fight Opinion for the original transcriptions — and some of our own musings are after the jump …

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