Bellator Action Moving to Friday Nights in 2012
Bellator Fighting Championships will look to build on its 2011 campaign next year, by moving its cards to Friday nights in 2012. The promotion announced the news today while confirming that its upcoming sixth season will get underway March 6th.
“Our focus was to find the right night, where the largest number of MMA fans could enjoy the show,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney was quoted saying in a press release. “We’ve been discussing this move with our partners at Viacom for months. When we looked at the alternatives, we agreed that Fridays provided a great night for us to reach MMA fans with our live, real sport, tournament events every week.”
While the past year for Bellator featured several memorable bouts and story lines, as well as, the aforementioned Viacom taking a majority interest in the company, the promotion’s Saturday night cards were forced to compete with UFC events. As Rebney alluded to, by moving to Fridays, Bellator may be able to expand its reach and profile.
The UFC will be moving its “Ultimate Fighter” series to Friday nights next year, however, and the show’s new format will feature live bouts weekly, rather than taped fights. In addition, while it remains to be seen if Strikeforce events will continue to be broadcast on Showtime in 2012, the promotion’s Challengers cards have traditionally taken place on Fridays.
Some of the bouts scheduled to take place in Bellator’s 2012 campaign include recent welterweight tourney winner Douglas Lima versus champion Ben Askren, and middleweight finalist Alexder Shlemenko versus champ Hector Lombard.
The promotion has confirmed that season six will feature five tournaments, including action in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions. The fifth tourney weight class has not been determined yet.