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Bjorn Rebney: “I Am Blessed” to Have Partners Like Spike TV

Posted on by Jeff Cain

Bjorn RebneyBellator MMA was formed in 2008 by chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.  Formerly known as Bellator Fighting Championships, the organization has grown with each season.

Their debut season aired on tape delay on ESPN Deportes.  Season 2 was broadcast on Fox Sports Net.  By season 4, the promotion had moved to MTV2.

In October 2011, Viacom purchased a majority stake in the fight promotion and on Jan. 17, 2013, Bellator MMA landed on Spike TV.  The move increased Bellator MMA’s viewership many times over.

Rebeny appeared on a recent episode of MMAWeekly.com content partner Knockout Radio and discussed how much he’s learned since transitioning to Spike TV and from Viacom.

“There’s so many things.  If we had an hour and a half I probably couldn’t go through all the things I learned.  It’s just a constant evolutionary process when you are talking about TV and you’re talking about live sports on TV.  And I am blessed,” said Rebney.

A side by side comparison of Bellator’s last season on MTV 2 to their debut season on Spike TV tells the tale.

Bellator Season 7 Ratings on MTV2:

Bellator 74: 190,000 viewers
Bellator 75: 145,000 viewers
Bellator 76: 175,000 viewers
Bellator 77: 149,000 viewers
Bellator 78: 154,000 viewers
Bellator 79: 220,000 viewers
Bellator 80: 148,000 viewers
Bellator 81: 149,000 viewers
Bellator 82: 156,000 viewers
Bellator 83: 105,000 viewers
Bellator 84: 191,000 viewers

Bellator Season 8 Ratings on Spike TV:

Bellator 85: 938,000 viewers
Bellator 86: 812,000 viewers
Bellator 87: 705,000 viewers
Bellator 88: 807,000 viewers
Bellator 89: 719,000 viewers
Bellator 90: 737,000 viewers
Bellator 91: 901,000 viewers
Bellator 92: 741,000 viewers
Bellator 93: 748,000 viewers
Bellator 94: 713,000 viewers
Bellator 95: 901,000 viewers

On MTV2, Bellator only eclipsed the 200,000 viewer mark once with Bellator 79.  On Spike TV, the viewership never dropped below 700,000 viewers.

“I’ve got these partners on Spike who know the space.  They love our sport.  They watch MMA. They track MMA,” he continued.  “They know the undercard guys on the Spike.com fights.  They know who’s a prospect.  They know who is on the last leg of their career.  They just know it, they live it, like the guys online that understand MMA and are right in the middle of the hunt.

“I’ve learned a ton of stuff.  Everything from the evolution of our graphics packages to better story lines on fighters to new techniques in terms of camera work and technology, our Bellator app…  There’s just so many pieces have evolved now that I’ve got this type of a team to work with.  It’s a great group of folks who really understand it.”

Bellator MMA’s next event takes place on June 19 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., and features a lightweight title bout and the Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinals.

Listen to Knockout Radio every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. EST on MMAWeekly.com and follow @KnockoutRadio on Twitter.

  • Born Rebz

    Shouldn’t he say ” blessed to have Bosses like Viacom and Spike”??
    What rkse is he supposed to say? And who cares What he has to say? Lol. Cmon , mma weekly, let’s quit trying to pretend he’s Dan white.

    • Chris

      This. Guy says the same s*** every interview, rides the nuts of Spike like they are mma, sorry they just showed the UFC.

      • Adam Vogt, North Yarmouth

        He hugs Spikes nuts the same way Dana hugs Foxs nuts. I don’t mean any disrespect to Dana because that is simply how the game is played, but look at the numbers jump between MTV2 and Spike…why would he say anything bad when Spike quadrupled his organization’s numbers? I don’t have anything against Rebney and not sure why you guys do. I’ll admit he is no Dana White, but I don’t think he or MMAweekly thinks that he is. Bellator has done a great job of developing new fighters and scouting new talent. They are obviously not in the same league as the UFC, but they are bringing shows to areas the UFC doesn’t touch, and I say, the more events, the more the sport grows, the better it is for the athletes and fans. Just my opinion.