Video: Preview of Tonight’s “Bellator MMA Unrivaled: The Russian Invasion”

One thing people about watching Bellator MMA is a great crop Russian fighters.

Tonight on Spike TV, you will learn a little bit more about the fighters as the promotion debuts, “Bellator MMA Unrivaled: The Russian Invasion”. The half-hour premieres at 11.p.m. ET/PT.

The show will feature Russian fighters like: (including Alexander Volkov, Alexander Shlemenko, Andrey Koreshkov and Shahbulat Shamhalaev). There will also be commentary from the likes of Bellator MMA President Bjorn Rebney, Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson, Duke Roufus and Anthony Pettis.

Watch the preview above.

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Revisiting TNA’s Impact Wrestling: Week 2

Impact Wrestling Spike logoThis is part two of an ongoing series, looking at TNA’s product from a non-fan perspective as it builds towards Destination X. You can check out week one here.

Last week, Impact Wrestling was a disaster of a show. Between Hulkamania running a little too wild, a weak X Division title change, and overbooking in every segment, I had minimal desire to tune back in this week. My final thoughts were, “is this what TNA fans really want?”

No, it’s not. What TNA fans really want are chants, like “T-N-A” or “This-Is-AWE-SOME!” Apparently, they really miss ECW.

But this isn’t ECW. It’s not WWE, it’s not ROH, it’s not NWA. After existing for more than a decade, TNA still can’t quite find an identity. (For example, am I supposed to call the product “Impact Wrestling” or “TNA” or “TNA Wrestling” or what? The re-branding with the term “wrestling” from a few years back still has me confused).

The July 4th edition of Impact Wrestling proved a little more coherent. I’m totally on-board with the Bound for Glory series – this is how you make matches meaningful. While WWE has a TON of matches every week, only a few of them seem important in the bigger picture. What TNA has done with the Bound for Glory series is give their cards a sense of purpose.

Does it always work out? No. The Joseph Parks DQ against Jeff Hardy seemed a little cheap. Also, I’m not digging the way Joseph Parks is still having “flashes” of Abyss. I’m pretty sure he was doing this exact same thing last summer when he had his feud with Bully Ray. Has his character not evolved AT ALL since then? Maybe TNA is just recycling the same storyline.

But the in-ring product overall was solid. A great tag-team match, and killer main event. Was it as awesome as the TNA fans in attendance seemed to think? Maybe. Then again, I’ve heard fans in the Impact Zone give the same ovation to Hulk Hogan in a walker. Chris Sabin and Austin Aries definitely have chemistry in the ring together. But they were simply overshadowed by the 1,540 other people at ringside during their match last night.

I also think I’m pretty much done with the Main Event Mafia. Didn’t these guys originally debut as heels in 2008? The “wrestlers-in-suits” gimmick just makes them look like they take themselves too seriously. Plus, it doesn’t really fit the kind of relatable persona this faction is trying to develop. It would have been like the WCW making the NWO turn into faces… oh, right.

And I’d like to return this emo-AJ Styles look-alike, please. His constant look of constipation is bothersome. I know Taz and Mike Tennay like to say he’s “a loner,” but I think that’s just a nicer way of saying, “he looks like the guy from the 7-eleven security cam footage.”

Destination X is only two weeks away – July 18th, live on PPV Spike TV!

GLORY Agrees To A Multi-Year Deal With Spike TV

Looks like Viacom is pretty set on making a mark in the combat sports world.

It was announced today in a press release that Spike TV has agreed to a multi-year deal with GLORY kickboxing.

The first event between the parties will be taking place in October, with the events taking place on Saturday nights in Primetime.

GLORY made its major U.S. debut with an event last week at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom to see Tyrone Spong capture a $200,000 light-heavyweight tournament.

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glory

Video: Bellator MMA’s “Fight Master” Preview

Bellator begins a new era tonight.

Bellator debuts its new show, “Fight Master” premieres tonight starting at 10 p.m. ET/PT, which follows Bellator 96 on Spike TV.
The reality show will feature 32 fighters with the winner of the show getting a shot in a Bellator tournament.

The coaches on the show are former UFC champions Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock. The other two coaches are famed trainer Greg Jackson and former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren.

Watch the video above for a sneak preview of tonight’s episode.

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Report: Bellator To Air on Fridays This Fall

Bellator-MMA-Onslaught-LogoBellator MMA will have a new weekly home this fall on Spike TV as it will be moving to Friday nights.

Loretta Hunt of SI.com broke the news after speaking with Spike TV President Kevin Kay.

Season 9 of Bellator will actually debut on Saturday, September 7 on Spike TV will will be the finale for the “Fight Master” reality show.  Then on September 13, the promotion will make the permanent move to Friday nights and will air weekly from 9:00-11:00p ET.

Kay admitted that with UFC airing weekly on Wednesday nights in the fall on Fox Sports 1 was part of the decision not to move to that night and instead opted for Fridays.

“I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC,” Kay told SI.com. “I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”

Staying on Thursday nights was not a viable option either as the promotion did not want to go head-to-head with the NFL.

While “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show did some of its lowest ratings while on Friday nights, Kay told SI.com that he thinks Bellator will be able to hold up on that night.

The Ultimate Fighter on Fridays was doing over a million viewers a week. I’ll take that, and with live fights, I think we’ll do even better,” said Kay.

Bellator Signs UK TV Deal

Bellator-MMA-Onslaught-LogoBellator is making more waves as today the MMA promotion announce a television deal with VIVA in the United Kingdom.  The first show will take place on June 19.

Below is the press release from Bellator:

Newport Beach, CA. (June 6, 2013) – Bellator MMA will now be available on television for the first time to the many passionate mixed martial arts fans in the UK, as it was announced today by Bjorn Rebney, Bellator CEO and Kevin Kay, Spike TV President. Viacom’s popular VIVA channel will begin airing live Bellator fights on Wednesday June 19 as part of the MMA league’s summer series tournament featuring a stacked card including King Mo, “Babalu” Sobral and War Machine.  In September, VIVA will telecast Bellator MMA’s 9th season.

Bellator’s foray into the UK market increases their global reach to 116 countries and territories. Available in every one of the UK’s 26 million TV households, VIVA has one of the highest profiles amongst 16 to 34-year-olds of any UK channel, with 50% of its audience comprised of that hard-to-reach demographic and one in four of that age group in the UK – 3.7 million viewers – tuning in to the channel each month.  Bellator is the first mixed martial arts franchise to be televised on the channel.

“We are thrilled to finally bring the pure excitement of Bellator MMA to the legions of dedicated and knowledgeable mixed martial arts fans in the UK,” remarked Rebney. “Our long awaited expansion into the UK, one of the world’s MMA hot beds further illustrates our continued ascension in the MMA world.

“This deal is game changer in the UK, giving Bellator the widest and deepest distribution of any MMA promotion in the marketplace,” said Kay.

Recently, Bellator MMA announced the signings of three of the UK’s top MMA fighters, Martin Stapleton, Rob Sinclair and Paul Sass. With the VIVA deal in place, Bellator will continue to aggressively pursue top British fighting talent.

Between The Ropes MMA Podcast – June 4, 2013

rampagebellatorBrian and Steve discuss ‘Rampage’ Jackson signing with Bellator and TNA Wrestling, what kind of an impact he could have for both companies, whether or not he will be wrestling and what his role could be for TNA, what he has left as a fighter, Bellator switching to Wednesday nights on Spike TV, MMA contracts and more.

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‘Rampage’ Jackson Signs Deal with Bellator, TNA

rampage-jacksonBellator MMA along with TNA Wrestling announced today that Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson has signed a “multi-year, monumental partnership” that includes both MMA and pro wrestling.

As part of the deal, Jackson will also star in a reality TV show on Spike TV leading up to his MMA debut for Bellator.

“Rampage is a true superstar both inside and outside the MMA cage” Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. “The partnership that we’ve created with Quinton is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the sports & entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.”

This deal is similar to one that Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal signed with the companies involved last year.  More details on this deal will be announced during a press conference on Wednesday in Los Angeles followed by a conference call with media.

“Rampage is one of the best known MMA fighters competing today,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “He is a true cross-over star and his talent, big personality and popularity among a wide range of fans make him an extraordinary fit for our company.”

Jackson (32-11), a former UFC light heavyweight champion and Pride champion, left the UFC earlier this year following loses to Jon Jones, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira.  At that point, his relationship with the UFC and President Dana White had gone south to the point where both parties decided a split was necessary.

Spike TV is hoping that Jackson and his personality will help provide a ratings boost to both Bellator and TNA Wrestling.  It is not known yet what role Jackson will have with the wrestling company.

“We are thrilled to create this opportunity for one of the greatest athletes and personalities in MMA,” said Kevin Kay, Spike TV President. “Rampage is a proven ratings driver who brings incredible star power to both Bellator and TNA.”

Spike TV Announces Cast of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA”

Fight Master Group Shot

SPIKE TV ANNOUNCES CAST OF “FIGHT MASTER: BELLATOR MMA”

32 Welterweights Battle for a Spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament

and $100,000 Prize Under the Tutelage of Fight Legends

Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren

 

Series Premieres Wednesday, June 19 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT

New York, NY, May 6, 2013 – The inaugural season of Spike TV’s “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” brings together 32 of the best welterweight (170 lbs) fighters on the planet to compete for a spot in the Bellator MMA Tournament, the toughest tournament in sports, and a $100,000 prize.  The series premieres on Wednesday, June 19 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT, featuring legends of the sport, Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, and Joe Warren, as coaches.

From Salvador, Brazil to Newcastle, United Kingdom to Great Falls, MT, the 32 fighters have traveled from all corners of the globe to the bayou of New Orleans, and will live and train together in four camps led by the aforementioned legendary coaches.  This series is much more than just a tournament, as it will capture the reality of the competitors and the grueling training regimen it takes to become a world-class MMA fighter.

The concept of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” is unprecedented in that the fighters control their own destiny.  They will choose which camp to train with and which opponent they want to fight next.  The 32 fighters will partake in qualifying bouts over the first three episodes of the series.  The finale will be telecast live on Spike with the winner moving on to an upcoming tournament.  Bellator announcer Jimmy Smith will serve as host.

The inaugural “Fight Master:  Bellator MMA” cast is comprised of the following:

Marcus Aurelio

Age: 26

Record: 6-2-0

Vancouver, British Columbia

Twitter: @barraozinho

 

Nick Barnes

Age: 22

Record: 5-0-0

San Diego, CA

Twitter:  @Nick_phoenix170

 

Eric Bradley

Age: 31

Record: 5-1-0

Las Vegas, NV

Twitter: @ericbradleymma

 

Mike Bronzoulis

Age: 34

Record: 15-5-1

Houston, TX

Twitter:  @thegreekmikeb

 

Frank Carrillo

Age: 29

Record: 6-3-0

Miami, FL

Twitter: @CarrilloMMA

 

Darryl Cobb

Age: 32

Record: 6-6-0

East St. Louis, IL

Twitter: @devistatdarryl

 

Christopher Curtis

Age: 25

Record: 7-2-0

Cincinnati, OH

Twitter:  @TheActionman513

 

Evan Cutts

Age: 22

Record: 5-1-0

Dallas, TX

Twitter: @TheButcherCutts

 

Mike Dubois

Age: 30

Record: 3-0-0

Thomasville, GA

Twitter:  @zombiemikemma

 

Tom Gallicchio

Age: 26

Record: 16-8-0

Howell, NJ

Twitter: @TomDaTank5

 

Ismael Gonzalez

Age: 32

Record: 11-10-0

Los Angeles, CA

Twitter: @Ismael_mma

 

Gareth Joseph

Age: 28

Record: 9-5-0

San Diego, CA

Twitter: @garethjoseph

 

Chris Lozano

Age: 30

Record: 9-3-0

Cleveland, OH

Twitter: @CLE_assassin

 

AJ Matthews

Age: 24

Record: 5-2-0

Carlsbad, CA

Twitter: @AJ_MMA

 

Rob Mills

Age: 35

Record: 8-2-0

Newcastle, United Kingdom

Twitter: @robmillsmma

 

Steve Montgomery

Age: 22

Record: 3-1-0

Florence, SC

Twitter: @WeaselSteve

 

Chip Moraza-Pollard

Age: 24

Record: 7-4-0

Plymouth, MA

Twitter:  @chipthesurgeon

 

Brett Nakamura

Age: 30

Record: 6-1-0

Maui, HI

 

Jason Norwood

Age: 28

Record: 12-3-0

Fort Hood, TX

Twitter:  @rightfight170

 

Dom O’Grady

Age: 31

Record: 15-5-1

Detroit, MI

Twitter: @Dom_OGrady

 

Jacob Ortiz

Age: 31

Record: 8-4-0

San Manuel, AZ

Twitter:  @KobeTheStunna

 

Josh Quayhagen

Age: 26

Record: 6-1-0

Lake Charles, LA

Twitter: @JoshQuayhagen

 

Joe Riggs

Age: 30

Record: 39-14-0

Phoenix, AZ

Twitter:  @DIESELRIGGSMMA

 

Eric Scallan

Age: 27

Record: 11-4-0

Lafayette, LA

Twitter: @EricScallan

 

Cristiano Souza

Age: 30

Record: 5-0-0

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Twitter:  @SouzaSoldierBoy

 

Brendan Tierney

Age: 37

Record: 10-5-0

Queens, NY

Twitter:  @Tiny_Shorts

 

Bryan Travers

Age: 29

Record: 13-3-0

Bakersfield, CA

Twitter: @BryanTravers

 

Andy Uhrich

Age: 27

Record: 8-3-0

Gering, NE

Twitter:  @stunneruhrich

 

Tim Welch

Age: 22

Record: 8-4-0

Great Falls, MT

Twitter:  @TimWelchMT

 

Cole Williams

Age: 30

Record: 5-1-0

Darian, WI

Twitter:  @havocole

 

Joe Williams

Age: 27

Record: 7-1-0

Tustin, CA

Twitter:  @jawmma

 

Artenas Young

Age: 32

Record: 9-5-0

Houston, TX

Twitter:  @MachineGunYoung

The series will delve into the fighters’ personal stories for a glimpse into the often arduous journey that led them to “Fight Master.”  Viewers will get to know the man behind the fighter, and follow them on their quest for victory.  Despite their wide variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds, these fighters all share the same goal – to learn from the sport’s finest trainers and earn a spot in the Bellator tournament.

Spike TV will telecast 10 one-hour episodes of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA.” Production begins in early February in Louisiana.  Two of television’s most acclaimed producers, eight-time Emmy® Award-winner Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri of Profiles Television Productions, the visionaries behind “The Amazing Race,” serve as Executive Producers.  Andrea Richter serves as Executive Producer as well and Sharon Levy, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, Spike TV, Tim Duffy, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Spike TV, and Christopher Martello, Vice President, Sports and Specials, Spike TV, will oversee the project for the network.

About Spike:

Spike is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks.  A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.  Spike’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press.  Follow us on Twitter@spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.