Bellator will make the move to Friday night official in 2012 (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
Sixth Season to get Underway on March 2nd
Bellator Fighting Championships rose to prominence with a Thursday night time slot before it most recently began to hold its events on Saturday evenings, but the promotion has announced one more move that it hopes will give it a permanent home. When Bellator kicks off its sixth season on March 2nd, 2012, it will mark the beginning of a new chapter for the promotion, one that will see the show host its cards on Friday nights.
“Our focus was to find the right night, where the largest number of MMA fans could enjoy the show,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. “We’ve been discussing this move with our partners at Viacom for months. When we looked at the alternatives, we agreed that Fridays provided a great night for us to reach MMA fans with our live, real sport, tournament events every week.”
Bellator inked a TV deal with MTV2 before it started its fourth season in March of 2011, which is also when the move to Saturday nights was made. Despite the fact that its shows were generally concluded about the time the main card of an UFC event got underway, Bellator did suffer some hardships as a result of going head-to-head with UFC fight nights. One of its toughest battles was in terms of losing out on extended coverage by MMA media, whom were unable to cover its events live due to being on site for UFC shows. Even though Friday nights in 2012 will include live airings of matches for the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter, the new time slot looks like it should be a much more beneficial one for Bellator.
The inclusion of five number one contender tournaments were also officially announced for Bellator’s sixth season, with competitions slated in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions. A fifth weight class tournament is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.