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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.

Strikeforce and Showtime part ways:

Before all of you business experts begin furiously typing that Showtime isn’t technically affiliated with Viacom, keep in mind that a majority of the specialty channel is still owned by media mogul Sumner Redstone, whose family also owns CBS and he still remains on the board of directors. As such, it’s unlikely that one of the networks under the Redstone umbrella would give a leg up to the competition, meaning that Strikeforce is likely dust in the wind by the end of the year.


MMA on CBS again:

There’s a very good chance that CBS was using Chuck Liddell‘s appearance on Hawaii Five-O this week as a litmus test to gauge the popularity of the sport with its viewership to see if signing with a promotion would be in its best interest. Although the ratings aren’t back yet for the episode, the fact that CBS’s PR department was pushing the episode to the MMA media pretty hard the past few weeks means they wanted the show to do well and were making sure it did. It’s no coincidence that they prominently displayed the ProElite cage and logos throughout Chuck’s cameo on the show. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and it would have been just as easy for the show to cover up the PE logo or use a generic cage, so there’s a pretty good chance that the promotion is on the cusp of that deal with CBS we talked about a few months back. Now that all of the cards are down, we can probably expect an announcement in the following weeks that a deal that compliments ProElite’s newly announced broadcasting contract with HDNet is in place.


Spike gets back into the MMA reality series game:

Although no easy task, there’s a good chance that we will see Spike pick up where they left off with The Ultimate Fighter and begin producing a new original series to go hand-and-hand with Bellator programming on the channel. The challenge will be coming up with something fresh and new that won’t get stale. Maybe they should take our advice and put both opponents for an upcoming bout in the same fighter house and let nature take its course.



Both Spike and the UFC have proven that they can be spiteful by attempting to sabotage the competition by airing replays of big fights as a calculated counter-programming measure. Dana White has said that he’s not at war with Bjorn Rebney, but since BR is no longer the primary owner of Bellator, all bets are off. Expect “The Baldfather” to switch to Berzerker mode like he did with Affliction and ProElite 1.0 when both promotions announced that they would be going head-to-head with the UFC. Things are going to get interesting shortly.

Worth noting is the fact that Spike still owns the primary broadcasting rights to a portion of the UFC library and considering that they aren’t planning on moving Bellator over from MTV2 until 2013, there’s a pretty good chance that they will be wringing every last drop of blood out of the contract before it expires.

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zhchff- October 29, 2011 at 7:48 am
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Nut Puncher 9000- October 28, 2011 at 5:13 am
The only way Viacom honestly has a chance is to revolutionize the sport of MMA somehow. Otherwise they are doomed to be, at best, #2.
Nut Puncher 9000- October 28, 2011 at 5:08 am
Van Damme It Xeno...

Ok, so im sick of your silly fantasy that someday you will be staring at some other combination of letters that isnt UFC (or owned by them) during a PPV event and cackle about how you knew this day would come, while you drink a bottle of champagne in celebration and jerk off.
Lets assume first that its a fucking miracle the people placed in charge of financing Bellator are actually MMA fans. Now lets hope of all few of those people, that they are the one willing to put their career on the line for MMA and go WAY into debt. (Should be no trouble getting that done)
Lets just forget about the fact that the UFC is currently the brand to beat and is widely acknowledged as being the home of the worlds best fighters. Dont forget that any champion and most likely any rising star with a title shot in sights will not want to lose there spot/shot as the best in the world. This is something that will be nearly impossible for any company to take from the UFC at this point. Public perception of where the best fighters are is a game changer.
So the championship losers become cast away champions...Just like Hendo? Or will it be the extremely talented young star that came up through Bellator (EA), who still doesn't top many lightweight ranks. The rankings you read are most likely done by hard core fans by the way, the casual fan couldnt even tell you all the UFC champions let alone a Bellator champ and rank them lol.
And finally lets hope that the current big dog in town, the UFC (thats been known for their love of competition), is going to sit by and watch their cheddar line the pockets of another.
Now even if Viacom saddles up for the long haul and is successful, what then? Two strong leagues where we, the fans, just want to see the champions fight? That sucks. You suck. /BitchSlap
Austin3210- October 27, 2011 at 10:07 am
I thought I was just having a brain fart. Glad it wasn't just me.
AndyInflammatory- October 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm
"Until you have the actually contract, with all provisions and exit clauses on the table in front of us, its all educating guess at that finite of a level."

let me quickly run that through Google Translate
XENOPHON- October 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm
Until you have the actually contract, with all provisions and exit clauses on the table in front of us, its all educating guess at that finite of a level.

If could have also been that Spike demanded that clause, so they would have time make a tranisition if the UFC bailed.

Here is a question, is Joe Rogan going to migrate to Spike and Bellator?
Austin3210- October 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm
"Worth noting is the fact that Spike still owns the primary broadcasting rights to a portion of the UFC library and considering that they aren’t planning on moving Bellator over from MTV2 until 2013, there’s a pretty good chance that they will be wringing every last drop of blood out of the contract before it expires."
They may be trying to wring every last drop, but that's because it's their only option, and their only option is a shitty one. Pretty sure there's a reason why the UFC's deal with Spike for TUF ended at the end of this year, and their contract for broadcasting rights of archives end at the end of next year. I don't doubt for a second they had rhyme and reason to have them a year apart. It means Spike can't do anything with anyone else for a year. Zuffa knew what they were doing with that. Spike can counter program with the UFC's own stuff all they want, but the UFC definitely was aware that would be Spike's only option when the contracts were drawn up.
XENOPHON- October 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm
That's right...and I'll take that one with a quaalude. Thanks.
StirkeFarce is done, so the question remains, when is there talent going to get swept or released? Obvious now why ZUFFA was moving talent inside the UFC at a blistering rate. They must have had some inside knowledge, and knew the big names from SF had options for employment.
Make one wonder, if your boat is named the USS John Fitch, (like so much UFC talent is) when do we start to see the lifeboats from Bellator start get lowered into the water?

Let's keep it real for a minute, if your Fitch, Diaz, Henderson, Melendez, Fedor, Cavalcante, Shields, Penn, Arlovski, Daley, Lawler, Sobral, Werdum, Rheem, or the dozens of UFC fighters who get stuck in the Maynard now is, what do you do?
Stick around for a fight that may take 3 years, or go to the opposition for a chance to hold a title, and be broadcast to a crowd that loves free fights and has depth in reach with Viacom/CBS?
You might wait a year, or two at the most, then you pack your bags and look at whats next.
ccman- October 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm
They didn't let chuck, he was told tito was going to be there and he came to kick his ass again.
intercept440- October 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm
im sorry what was this aritcle about?.......
I was mezemerized, by some big tittied purple thing with black hair....
.and i think there might have been a guido midget in the picture as well.....
Richard Fitzentite- October 26, 2011 at 11:50 am
Why did Dana allow Chuck to make an appearance on a competetor's network and shill for another promotion?
skeletor- October 26, 2011 at 11:10 am
You also forgot one more reason for Alvarez to duck legit competition.
RwilsonR- October 26, 2011 at 11:05 am
Did XENOPHON write this bit of conspiracy theorizing?
Todd M- October 26, 2011 at 10:25 am
@ exect 4500, lol funny and at this point probably true.
Todd M- October 26, 2011 at 10:23 am
This is all good, more growth for the sport. As for the Strikeforce being dust in the wind, well I think the writings been on the wall about that one for some time, lets see if one of these sideshows can rival the big top.
exect4500- October 26, 2011 at 10:21 am
You forgot UFC eventually acquires Bellator.