Bellator has scheduled a November event for Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, and the company’s live-streaming preliminary fights on Spike.com will now be international.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed both pieces of news Thursday on the Bellator Beat show on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.
Rebney said he expects a November card at Casino Rama to commence a couple of hours earlier than the regularly scheduled time of 7 p.m. Bellator has revealed its schedule for events Nos. 50-52, 54, 58 and 59, the final two of which are the last two Saturdays in November. Based on his statement, that leaves the Casino Rama event for either Nov. 5 or Nov. 12, but most likely the later date, which is the night of UFC on Fox.
That would make it Bellator 57.
Looking at the calendar and the numbered events, Bellator will be dark for one weekend, and most signs point to Oct. 29, when UFC 137 takes place with Georges St-Pierre meeting Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz facing B.J. Penn.
Bellator 54 is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Atlantic City, N.J., and Bellator 58 is Nov. 19 in Hollywood, Fla. In between, that leaves four Saturdays for three Bellator events, including the Canadian trip. The other open Saturday in that span is Oct. 22, which figures to be Bellator 55.
Venues have been announced for each Bellator through No. 54, with the exception of the Oct. 8 event. While Bellator 53 is scheduled for that date and will include the Season 5 welterweight tournament semifinal matches of Chirs Lozano versus Douglas Lima, and Ben Saunders against Luis Santos, the venue has not been made official. It’s been reported that Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif., will host the event.
Similar to Bellator 50 on Saturday, the Canadian event will begin streaming its prelims at 5 p.m. ET on Spike.com and start the television broadcasts on MTV2 in regular definition and Epix in high definition at 7 p.m. The UFC on Fox broadcast is expected to be a one-hour show, beginning at 9 p.m., featuring the heavyweight title match between champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.
Rebney expects Bellator 50 and the Canadian event to be the only cards started earlier than usual on the Season 5 slate. Events customarily start Saturdays at 7 p.m. for the prelims and 9 p.m. for the main card fights.
Bellator 50′s main card will not go up against the UFC Fight Night 25 feature matches, which will air on Spike TV starting at 9 p.m.
“When you’ve got those kind of events going on, and you’re working with a partner who is intelligent and as educated and experienced in the space as the group at Spike.com, at Spike and at MTV and MTV2 and MTV Networks, you sit down with them,” Rebney told the Bellator Beat show. ”You say, ‘What can we do to maximize the potential to reach as many fans as possible? What can we do maximize the MMA content experience for fans?’
“It just pushes everything forward. Therefore it gives us a little bit better opportunity to reach more consumers.”
Viacom owns MTV2, Spike TV and Spike.com. While Spike’s relationship with the UFC for live events will end at the completion of 2011, its synergy with Bellator appears to be on the rise.
Bellator’s fifth season began Sept. 10, with the prelims streamed on Spike.com for the first time. That stream was limited domestically for Bellator 49, but Rebney said that from here on in it will be available worldwide.
“The way that the show is done won’t change much,” Rebney told Bellator Beat. “The only difference is that now it will be seen worldwide. We knew when we went into it that it was a great opportunity for us. Everybody recognizes the significance of the brand. Spike is the most significant brand in the history of distributing mixed martial arts. It’s a great step for us, it’s a great next step in the evolution of Bellator.
“Now if you’re in Russia, Brazil, Africa or the Middle East, you’re going to be able to watch the show. It just continues to expand the reach and expand what we’re doing. (It is) an unbelievable group of people to work with, to help us build this brand.”