Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney knows tonight’s debut on Spike TV is the biggest moment in the promotion’s near five year history.
“When you look at the tremendous ratings success that Spike had with MMA content in the past, and you look at what happened from a ratings perspective since the UFC went to their new home, I think it paints a pretty clear picture,” said Rebney to MMA Junkie. “MMA fans like myself, along with millions of MMA fans across the country, associate Spike TV with MMA.”
The UFC spent six years on Spike TV and used the network to air The Ultimate Fighter. The show would catapult the UFC into many new households. After the UFC signed with FOX in 2011, Spike TV was left without a MMA promotion. The TV station was able to use archived footage of the UFC until the end of last year.
Bellator started airing nationally in Season 2 on FOX Sports Net and switched to MTV2 beginning with Season 4. They would air for the next four seasons on MTV2 before signing with Spike TV.
Bellator 85 will be the first time Bellator holds live fights on their new network channel. Two title fights are set as featherweight champion Pat Curran defends his against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Rick Hawn challenges Michael Chandler for his lightweight belt in the main event. The show starts at 10 p.m. ET with preliminary fights occurring on Spike.com.