Former Manswers generator Spike TV will be undergoing yet another rebrand. (Spare a thought for all the fallen TNNs that came before it.) In 2018, Spike TV will reportedly be transformed into the Paramount Network. For a network that’s had MMA in the spotlight for an extended stretch, this news may be scary for fans of Bellator. Not to worry, it sounds like the fight promotion won’t be chucked in the change.
MMA Fighting has spoken with sources at the cable outpost that say “Bellator will be as much of a priority in Paramount as it has been under Spike.” Coupled with a memo stating the switch will include Spike’s programming, this is definitely encouraging for the spot’s health on Paramount. As always, everything is subject to change in both MMA and television, so there’s no guarantee the partnership will be a go once the relaunch hits.
The rebranding of Spike presents an interesting opportunity for Bellator. Spike initially launched its run of MMA programming back in 2005 and would later air Bellator after the promotion jumped ship to Fox Sports. The arrival of a revamped platform for Bellator to appear on opens up some intriguing possibilities on new ways to connect with and grow their audience. At present, the promotion still reads a bit of a jumble with a mix of freak show style fights with name value and genuine talents with less marquee pull. As fighters continue to sort out the new frontier of UFC, Bellator may have the opportunity to reintroduce itself when Spike does in 2018. The Paramount Network should rethink that UPN-esque branding though. Exciting newness shouldn’t trigger memories of Shasta McNasty.