Bellator's anticipated trek into the world of reality television will air on Spike this summer and will be led by some legendary company.
UFC hall of famer Randy Couture, former multiple-promotion champion Frank Shamrock, renowned coach Greg Jackson and former Bellator featherweight title holder Joe Warren will serve as coaches on the inaugural season of "Fight Master: Bellator MMA".
Bellator and Spike officials held a press conference on Tuesday to formally announce the project. The show will feature 32 up-and-coming welterweight prospects vying for a spot in a Bellator welterweight tournament this fall.
"Fighters will control their own destiny," Spike VP Sharon Levy said to the media. "They will need to utilize strategy in and out of the cage if they want to succeed and advance each week. The stakes are high and the wrong decision. Whether it is picking an opponent you don't match up well against or a coach and fight camp that you don't work well with, can mean all the difference."
The fighters will compete amongst each other to narrow the field down to 16 before the official competiton starts. The contestants will also be permitted to choose with fight camp they will live and train with. The cast members will also pick their own matchups.
"Coaching is where I started," Couture said. "Before I ever started in MMA, I was coaching at a university in Division I college wrestling. It’s something I’ve always had an affinity for. It’s something I enjoy. I’m certainly a much better technical athlete now than I was 6-8 years ago. All those things are things that will [determine] how I’ll coach and how I’ll relate to the athletes that I get to train."
The show will feature two-round fights that will be classified as professional bouts according to the Louisiana State Boxing & Wrestling Commission. Matches will be filmed at an undisclosed location in New Orleans.
It was also announced that Couture will partner with Spike in a pilot for another reality show concept entitled "MMA Rescue". Similar to Spike's current show "Bar Rescue", Couture will reportedly visit struggling MMA gyms in an attempt to turn them around.
Previous entry: UFC releases first set of fighter rankings