Oh snap. A mere two months after Viacom started getting all jiggy with Bellator prelims on Spike.com, we now have news that they’ve bought the promotion and will be moving it to SpikeTV as soon as legally possible. Unfortunately, because of wonky expiration dates on certain UFC deals, that won’t be for another year:
Viacom, parent of MTV Networks, bought a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and will start airing the promotion’s bouts on Spike in 2013, the companies told USA TODAY this week. They’ve had ongoing talks for about a year as they finished up various deals, and over the past month finally reached the point where they could announce the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said.
Selling to Viacom’s entertainment conglomerate guarantees a stable future for Bellator, said Rebney, who will remain in charge of the MMA organization.
Not to shit on the deal or anything, but entrusting your continued existence to a cable tv network conglomerate doesn’t sound all that stabilizing to me. They’re always pulling the plug on one under-performing property or another, but I guess going big with Spike beats going unseen and slowly broke on MTV2.
This move solidifies Bellator as the number 2 promotion in town, albeit only in 2013. Until then, the UFC gets to perform on FOX without any serious combat sports competition from any other channel. Not that I’d consider Bellator serious competition at this point. But Viacom now has 14 months to whip their new promotion into contender shape.