Couture signs Spike deal, joins Bellator reality series
SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.
As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.
Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.
The article also states that the deal was done, "much to the disapproval" of UFC president Dana White.
As if the budding war between the UFC and Bellator needed any more fuel to the fire after White's suggestion that fighters not sign with Bellator due to ther contract stipulation this past weekend. Things are about to get interesting to say the least.
The first Bellator MMA broadcast on Spike set a TV ratings record for the promotion, notching in at an average of 938,000 viewers for Bellator 85.
Thursday’s Bellator 86 didn’t do quite as well, but it didn’t take a hard fall either.
Bellator 86 averaged 812,000 viewers, according to MMAWeekly.com industry sources. That number is still four to five times higher than most of the Bellator events drew during its stint on MTV2.
Bellator has accounted for a more than 75-percent improvement in several of the key advertising demographics for Spike TV compared to the prior four weeks of programming.
Let's be clear here - the slight dip in the ratings is just that, slight. It's to be expected as things level out, but if these numbers are any indication of what we can expect during the Spike-Bellator relationship, Bjorn Rebney and company are in for a pleasant surprise as well as a foothold as a strong alternative to the UFC.
The promotion for Bellator has been impressive, at least on Spike's end. Just as it was while the UFC was a partner, Bellator commercials and screen spots are all over the place. It's also telling when I can walk into the bathroom of a random bar in Philadelphia, and find a pack of Bellator posters and coasters for taking.