Photo via Bellator
Bellator Fighting Champioships and Spike TV will be hosting a media conference call today to make a "major announcement" concerning the future of the promotion and the network. Bellator will be debuting on Spike TV in early 2013.
Bellator Fighting Championships and Spike TV will hold a media conference call today (Dec. 11, 2012) in advance of the promotion's 2013 planned move to Spike TV, which is expected to begin around Jan. 10.
The conference call will begin promptly at 1 p.m. ET. Scheduled to attend will be Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and Spike TV President Kevin Kay.
The global mass media company Viacom purchased a majority stake in Bellator in October of 2011. Viacom owns the likes of Comedy Central, Spike TV and the MTV networks. Bellator has been airing on MTV 2 ever since the beginning of its fourth season in March of 2011.
Spike TV was the first true home of MMA on major television in the United States, airing the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 and continuing to air UFC programming until the end of 2011. Spike TV has retained the rights to UFC programming until the end of this year.
The "major announcement" could be anything from the planned start date of events on Spike to even the debut of the promotion's expected reality show.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
1:04 p.m. - They just told us the call is supposed to begin at about 1:05 p.m.
1:06 p.m. - They're getting started.
Kevin Kay: We're truly excited to have Bellator on Spike. We'll be debuting on Thursday January 17th and it'll be live. Impact will be it's lead-in from 8-10 so we'll have 4 to 4 1/2 hours of live programming on Thursday night.
Bjorn Rebney: Thursday, Janurary 17th in Irvine, California. We'll finish off our first show with a world title fight between Michael Chandler and Rick Hawn. To kick off the night, we have the fan vote. The fans responded in droves and they overwhelmingly voted for War Machine against Daly. We sat down and thought to kick off what will get people excited and we decided Curran Pitbull. Our first fight will be a featherweight title fight on Spike TV. Babalu will make his Bellator debut in between. Seth Petruzelli will also fight and so will Mike Guymon.
Our second week will be in Dallas and Askren will fight Amoussou at 170. King Mo will be making his debut, Douglas Lima, Ben Saunders and we're really excited to kick off with two electrifying fights on Thursday at 10 p.m. on Spike. There will be a King Mo special airing in between the first and second event.
Kevin Kay: I don't have a lot of concern about [the show lasting til after midnight on the east coast]. Guys tend to get the remotes at 10 p.m.
Bjorn Rebney: We'll have five tournametns this season, 145, 155, 205, 185 and 170. We've got five stacked tournaments top to bottom.
Bjorn Rebney: Sam Caplan has done an amazing job recruiting talent for our reality show. I think it'll accomplish a lot of good things for us and it'll make entertaining TV.
Kevin Kay: We're in the middle of casting fighters yet and once we get the cast complete, we'll be more in position about letting you know when it gets on the air.
Kevin Kay: The move from Friday to Thursdays was a no-brainer for us. With the Impact lead-in, they're on fire right now and as soon as football is done on Thursday nights, their ratings will drive right back up. Fridays are a tough place to be and we were only on Fridays because that's what MTV 2 had for us. They dont' want to compete with MTV and it was not a perfect time slot but we believe Thursday is.
Kevin Kay: We're in the Bellator business for the long haul. You'll see the show Thursday nights 10-12 and we'll probably rebroadcast on Friday or Saturday and honest to God, if the fights are great, we'd air them every day of the week.
Bjorn Rebney: We tried to figure out how to stay true to the format and also put ourselves in a position to do a rematch on a spectacular title fight. You still have to win the toughest tournament sports to get your shot but if you do that and if your title fight is incredible and you've earned a rematch, we'll do that. There's nothing better than an epic title fight that delivers and if they deliver, we can do it again.
Bjorn Rebney: We still have a long way to go with Eddie Alvarez and we have to sit back, see what the UFC sends and figure if we'll match that dollar for dollar and element for element.
Bjorn Rebney: We try to approach the reality show the way we do everything we do for Bellator. A good back story is a plus, but what really matters is "Can you fight? Can you fight on that level?" That's what gives rise to great programming. Can the guys fight? Are you thinking to yourselves that that guy can be a champion in the future? You'll see a combination. What pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will incentivize them? You'll see a combination of different backgrounds, fighters from different arenas and fighters who will introduce themselves.
Kevin Kay: Pacific coast will get 7 p.m. live as well on satellite, but 8 and 10 on cable
Kevin Kay: Bellator 360 will air prior to the 17th. It'll showcase the fighters that will be on the early shows and there's discussion about a countdown show as well. The King Mo special will air right after the first event is over and it'll be repeated during the week at primetime like Monday night.
Kevin Kay: You know why I won't answer that question about when the reality show will air yet.
Bjorn Rebney: We have some really exciting stuff we're doing in regards to the tournament format. We're gonna get some tournament action on that first show and the second, bouncing between welterweight and 170 on the first two shows. We'll release the names of all tournament fighters in very short order.
Bjorn Rebney: I spoke too soon last Friday. Rad is saddled with responsibilities that are admirable. Post-fight I talked to Rad and got he and his brother on the phone. Rad is not in position to be able to fight. He's got to take care of his dad. Between his brother Levi and Rad, that is an epic responsibility. Levi is gonna be out of town and there's not anybody that can take care of his father the way he needs to be taken care of. Rad and Shamhalaev will fight at sometime during season eight. I 100 percent respect what he has to do.
Bjorn Rebney: That was a spectacular performance by a young lady we've been building up the last two years. That speaks to what we want to do at 125. That's a great division for us. Zoila will come back and be strong. Jessica Aguialr has talked about making the move up to 125. It won't be in season eight when we kick off but you'll see it in 2013.
Kevin Kay: Mixed martial arts fans live watching MMA fights. That was a good chance to tell them Bellator will be debuting on Spike in January.
Bjorn Rebney: We've been working through a whole series of enhancements, improvements and changes that can help us provide better content that stays true to who we are. You'll see a lot of it in the openings, the music, the features and production, virtually everything we're doing.
Bjorn Rebney: The cage will stay the same. 30 feet around and in a circle.
Kevin Kay: We talk about who the best fighters are for this organization and Bjorn makes those decisions. Sam and Zach make the matches. We look for great fighters and our philosophy hasn't changed much. Certainly our philosophy isn't to pick off guys from other organizations unless they fit with our organization.
Bjorn Rebney: At this point we don't have definitive plans to do a pay-per-view.
Kevin Kay: MMA Uncensored is TBD. It won't be on Thursdays. It'll move to another night.
Kevin Kay: We will still air prelims on Spike.com.
Kevin Kay: All the Spike Canadian affiliates will air it. It won't be on The Score but wherever Spike is available in Canada, that will be on. MTV 2 didn't have distribution in Canada so we let Bjorn do the deal with The Score but since Spike TV is in Canada, it didn't make sense to keep that moving forward.
That's a wrap folks. Thanks for stopping by!