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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
In what will be seen as a sign of things to come, Bellator Fighting Championships and Spike TV announced on Tuesday that, beginning this Saturday at Bellator 49, Spike.com will stream Bellator's preliminary card fights live throughout season five.
The 12 week season airs weekly on MTV2, and the preliminary card stream will run live from 7-9PM ET throughout.
"Fight fans have been coming to our site for years for great mixed martial arts clips and information"" said Erik Flannigan, Executive Vice President, Digital Entertainment, MTV Networks Entertainment Group. "Now we are thrilled to provide them with action-packed live fighting each week."
"We are thrilled to join forces with Spike.com," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. "The Spike brand is synonymous with mixed martial arts worldwide and is another member of the MTV family, who does an incredible job in resonating with the hard-to-reach 18-to-34-year-old male audience."
Penick's Analysis: Obviously this will be seen as the first step towards bringing Bellator over from MTV2 to Spike when the UFC leaves at the end of the year. That could be huge for Bellator, and bring a massive increase in viewership from MTV2. There's no guarantee that's the move that will be made, of course, but this is a major sign that it's more likely than not. I'll be interested to see how many actually tune in for something like this, but it's at least going to help Bellator increase their brand awareness, and if they move to Spike it will go a long way in keeping them around longer.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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