Bellator Not Headed To Spike
By Joshua Molina
UFC has jumped to the Fox network. But Bellator Fighting Championship or any other MMA company won’t be moving over to Spike.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Spike TV will not carry Bellator mixed martial arts programming in 2012, or possibly ever. Instead, Spike TV will carry repeat UFC programming, including events, “Unleashed” and “The Ultimate Fighter” episodes.
“Next year, we will have a library of UFC programming,” said Spike TV spokesman David Schwarz.
The network, Schwarz said, has the right to air the programming through the end of 2012. He did not comment on whether Spike would counterprogram any Fox UFC programming.
The split between Spike and UFC marks the end of a marriage that began in 2006. Spike TV was the first network to take a gamble on mixed martial arts programming.
Spike’s “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, which combined the formulas of MTV’s “The Real World” and WWE’s “Tough Enough” into one show, catapulted MMA into the mainstream for the first time. UFC is now the king of mixed martial arts.
Still, the formula of the show became stale and ratings began to sink on Spike.
UFC has one more season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” on Spike, scheduled to air in the Fall and both sides are staying positive about the conclusion of their deal.
“It’s been a great relationship,” Schwarz said. “This is just the nature of the TV business.”