Rebney: MTV2 ‘Very Happy’ with Bellator

By Staff Mar 29, 2011
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney (Pictured) joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” on March 25 to talk about his promotion’s current season.

Other topics of discussion included how Bellator’s television deal with MTV2 is working out, pay-per-view possibilities and the role of Bellator in the MMA marketplace after the UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce.

Rebney on MTV2’s reaction to Bellator’s ratings: “They were real happy with the first and second weeks. Last week of course we battled ‘March Madness’ and an earlier start time, so the numbers dipped a little bit, but that’s to be expected. … That’s just the nature of the game. Saturday nights have some great advantages to them, but there’s a lot of action going on Saturday nights, specifically during the March timeframe.

On the relationship with MTV2: “They’ve been great. They’re very excited about the programming. … They know the space. The MTV network guys have been in charge of and running Spike since its infancy. They get MMA better than anybody in television. They know how to shoot it, they know how to produce it, they know how to promo it. … They’re an awesome partner.”

On the importance of MTV2 and weekly shows for building Bellator: “That’s the catalyst. If you look at where the UFC was and where the UFC has gone, you can argue back and forth, but the single greatest catalyst they’ve had is ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on Spike. … That week-in week-out same-time same-place channel development and partnership is the key to building a mixed martial arts organization.”

On how the Bellator-MTV2 partnership differs from UFC-SpikeTV: “We’re drawing a much different demographic on MTV2 than what the UFC is drawing both to the pay-per-views and to their Spike programming. And it’s a very attractive demo. It’s a socioeconomically impressive young male demographic that skews younger than the demographic watching ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and tuning into pay-per-views.”

On whether Bellator can succeed in the UFC-dominated market: “When you have content, you have a show that can week-in and week-out deliver hundreds of thousands of young male consumers -- which is kind of your key, key, key consumer that advertisers are trying to reach in this country and across the world -- there’s not reason to believe that we couldn’t live in great harmony, leveraging the expertise of the people at MTV networks, who have helped build the UFC out to where it is, and build this brand out under the same corporate umbrella.”

On the status of Bellator: “We are in a spectacular position right now as a company, as a corporate entity because we’re not bleeding. We had great investors behind us when I launched this company in 2009. Those investors believed in the business model I put in front of them in terms of how long it would take to get to a cash flow break-even position where we wouldn’t require any more capital to continue putting on shows and putting on events. We got there. We actually got there literally about 60 days before I had projected we would get there.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 58:55).
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