TORONTO - Viacom has purchased a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships.
Among its list of television networks, the American media conglomerate owns both MTV2 — which currently airs the fight organization south of the border — and Spike TV – the long-time home of the UFC.
Since the world’s largest MMA promotion recently signed a major deal with Fox, Spike began counter-programming live UFC events with the company’s own back catalogue. When the UFC debuts on Fox next month with a heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, Spike will air a marathon of the two fighter’s previous bouts.
Though Spike is unable to broadcast Bellator events due to its existing contract with the UFC, it began streaming preliminary fights online last month. With the purchase, Viacom announced Bellator cards will begin airing on Spike in 2013.
It’s no secret the network played an integral role in developing the UFC brand with The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series. Plus, with the financial backing of a company the size of Viacom, Bellator appears to have ensured itself some long-term stability.
LET ME AT ’EM
Brendan Schaub and Fabricio Werdum are lobbying to fight each other.
It all started with an off-hand comment by Schaub, who said the Strikeforce heavyweight would make for a good opponent. Werdum caught wind of it and threw out the challenge.
“To fight a guy like Werdum would be great,” Schaub told MMA Fighting. “Me mentioning his name is nothing disrespectful at all. I’ve got nothing but respect for him. I think he’s ranked No. 5 in the world and he’s one of the biggest names out there. That’s why I brought his name up, and I think he’d be one hell of a challenge for me. Tell me where to sign.”
Though both fighters are ready to make the match happen, Werdum has yet to sign a UFC contract.
Last week the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt’s trainer, Rafael Cordeiro, alluded an octagon return was in the works. Werdum later denied he was in talks with the UFC, but admitted he wouldn’t confirm anything even if negotiations were underway.
BRETT ROGERS IN HOT WATER AGAIN
Brett Rogers has been arrested again.
The former Strikeforce and EliteXC heavyweight surrendered to authorities Monday after failing to comply with the conditions of his pre-sentencing release.
In June, Rogers plead guilty to assault after he reportedly punched and choked his wife during a dispute. Rogers was set to be sentenced on Nov. 30, but was released. He is now charged with violation of an order preventing him from attempting to contact his spouse.
Rogers rose up the heavyweight ranks with the now defunct EliteXC before earning the biggest victory of his career when he knocked out Andrei Arlovski at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields, June 9, 2009.
But it was downhill from there. Since then Rogers has only won one of his last five fights, a controversial decision over Ruben Villareal. During this slide he’s been knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko and Alistair Overeem, submitted by Josh Barnett and dropped a split decision to Eddie Sanchez.
END OF LINE FOR CRO COP?
When Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic faces Roy Nelson at UFC 137 Saturday, it will the mark the final bout on his UFC contract. Once ranked among the top heavyweights in the world, the former PRIDE star has only won four of nine fights in the octagon.
UFC 128 – KO loss to Brendan Schaub
UFC 119 – KO loss to Frank Mir
UFC 115 – Submission victory over Pat Barry
UFC 110 – TKO victory over Anthony Perosh
UFC 103 – Verbal submission loss to Junior dos Santos
UFC 99 – TKO victory over Mostapha Al-Turk
UFC 75 – Unanimous decision loss to Cheick Kongo
UFC 70 – KO loss to Gabriel Gonzaga
UFC 67 – TKO victory over Eddie Sanchez