In the midst of all the talk surrounding the UFC, G4 and Spike TV, MMA Fighting reported Wednesday that if the UFC were to leave Spike TV at the end of this year, Bellator likely would fill the MMA gap on the network, moving over from sister station MTV2. Both Spike TV and MTV2 fall under the MTV Networks banner.
We asked Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney about this developing situation Thursday on Bloody Elbow Radio. Not surprisingly, he was non-commital.
The best answer to that question, to me, and it's a non-political answer but it sounds like one, is that I'm thrilled with the results we've had on MTV2 and the relationship we have with these folks at MTV2 who have been totally integrated into our programming and our brand and happy with the fans we've brought to the network and thrilled with the viewers on the network who have embraced us and given us the second highest-rated show the network has ever seen in the key demo.
My job is to just to keep running Bellator, build the brand and produce great TV. What happens from an overall TV perspective is much more under the control and the mandate of the folks at MTV Networks and not mine. My job is to run a fight promotion business, produce compelling television, sign world-class fights and the folks at different networks around the country, the Versus', the Spikes, the MTV2, the NBCs and all the different people we read about, they make the decisions in terms of where programming is going to go and what's going to happen.
A move to Spike would not be completely out of the blue. Spike officials have been spotted at Bellator Season 4 events. Rebney confirmed that, saying they simply are there to help out and provide ideas.
"One of the things I've been so excited about in terms of our relationship with MTV Networks has been that a lot of people in our space, a lot of fans of mixed martial arts aren't aware, but MTV Networks owns and controls Spike. They also own and control MTV and MTV2, so one of the clear, clear reasons we were so drawn to the MTV2 alliance is because you're able to leverage some of that expertise. The finest and most prolific broadcaster and televiser of mixed martial arts programming in history is Spike. They happen to exist under the banner of MTV Networks, the larger corporate umbrella which exists under Viacom, so we've done everything possible to try to leverage the expertise of all the really smart people underneath that banner and we've been fortunate enough to offer some free tickets to some folks underneath that banner and have them give us thoughts, ideas and concepts.
It's really a blessed position for us to be in because you get super-smart people who have been around this game from the very beginning from a television perspective who can add insight, make recommendations and give you ideas and concepts on hiw to improve this brand and how to improve the TV product. So yeah, I'm thrilled that some of those folks have been willing to show up and sit cageside and give us thoughts and ideas."
Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren also appeared on an edition of Spike TV's "TNA Impact" in March. The professional wrestling show is one of Spike's highest rated weekly programs. Rebney said Warren was invited to come by TNA.
"We were like, 'Yeah, that'll be great!' It's a highly-rated show on Spike, it's a terrific program, it's a great, great wrestling show and it's a ton of fun to watch."
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow throughout the coming months for more on this developing situation.