Spike TV Executives Attend Bellator 48

By Jack Encarnacao Aug 21, 2011
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- The presence of Spike TV executives at Saturday night’s Bellator Fighting Championships event in Connecticut stoked speculation that the tournament-based promotion could land on the MMA-friendly cable network after the UFC leaves Spike next year for Fox.

Spike TV senior vice president of sports and specials Brian Diamond attended the Bellator event, and spent time in the production truck and at cageside. Diamond declined a Sherdog.com request for comment, saying he was “working.”

“They’ve been at all of our shows,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said of Spike honchos. “They’re part of the MTV networks family. Our deal is with MTV Networks, it’s not a deal that we did with MTV 2, or a deal that we did with MTV Tres. So we’ve been able to leverage that expertise.”

Rebney said Spike representatives have assisted in tightening the production elements of Bellator’s television show. He said the promotion is free to call on such assistance because Spike and MTV2 are in the same family of networks, both owned by media giant Viacom. Spike’s pro wrestling program has been plugged on Bellator’s MTV2 broadcasts regularly since the promotion started on the channel in March.

Asked if Bellator would need to negotiate a new contract to move to Spike, Rebney responded, “That’s a good question.

“I mean, I don’t know,” he said. “I know what the specifics are of our agreement with MTV2, but from a transitional perspective, our deal is with the bigger corporate entity and they make all of the programming decisions. [I’m a] big fan of Spike and an enormous fan right now of MTV2 as well.”

Rebney said a possible move to Spike was in the back of his mind when striking the deal earlier this deal with MTV2, which the promotion was rumored to choose after discussions with FX.

“When you look at any kind of potential alliance with a large corporate entity and you’re making that move, you’re always thinking in the back of your mind, ‘Where could this end up, or where could it push? What could they decide from a programming perspective to do?’ We were all kind of aware of the fact that the UFC had a home with Spike and potentially might move to Comcast, might buy G4, might end up with ESPN, might end up with Fox. So there’s a lot of things in the back of your mind.”

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