Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard catches Alexander Shlemenko with an uppercut. Photo courtesy of Bellator.com
Rumors of Bellator moving to Spike TV have circulated since the latter's broadcast deal with the UFC came into question. That move now looks like a forgone conclusion after the UFC's move to the Fox family became official this week.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has played the PR game, telling MMA Junkie that they're only focused on MTV2. Despite Rebney's coyness, MMA Nation's Luke Thomas insists that Spike TV executives have told him that a Bellator move to Spike is "very likely."
There has been plenty of hints that Spike TV execs having been strolling around at Bellator events. Today, a Sherdog report confirms those rumors, reporting their presence at Bellator 48. Spike TV senior vice president of sports and specials declined comment to Sherdog. Rebney, however, offered the following (emphasis mine):
"They've been at all of our shows," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said of Spike honchos. "They're part of the MTV networks family. Our deal is with MTV Networks, it's not a deal that we did with MTV 2, or a deal that we did with MTV Tres. So we've been able to leverage that expertise."
"I mean, I don't know," he said. "I know what the specifics are of our agreement with MTV2, but from a transitional perspective, our deal is with the bigger corporate entity and they make all of the programming decisions. [I'm a] big fan of Spike and an enormous fan right now of MTV2 as well."
That little tidbit makes the move sound like a formality at this point. Spike TV is in just under 20 million more homes than MTV 2, and, even with a small shift in demographic priorities, is still a better fit for MMA programming than a network trying to target the 12-34 market.