Bellator Fighting Championships will broadcast the second and third seasons of its mixed martial arts tournaments on Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo.
The agreement was announced Tuesday by Bellator CEO-founder Bjorn Rebney and executives from Fox Sports Net and NBC.
"Since our launch earlier this year, there has been an overwhelming demand from MMA fans nationwide for us to broadcast our events live and through a widely available platform," Rebney said in a statement. "We are thrilled to have signed this groundbreaking agreement with Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo, which will bring our unique and exciting brand of tournament-based MMA events to a dramatically expanded audience of both English- and Spanish-speaking fans."
Bellator events will be distributed live in primetime on Thursday nights beginning in April on Fox and its regional sports network affiliates. Highlights from each week’s live events will be repackaged into a half-hour show broadcast the following Saturday night on NBC. A longer, one-hour highlight show will air in Spanish on Telemundo on Saturdays.
"Mixed martial arts has established its position by becoming one of the fastest-growing sports. Bellator and its real sport tournament format has proven it can deliver some of the finest and most intense action on broadcast television," said Jerry Petry, executive VP, NBC Universal Television.
Bellator Season 2 premieres in April and runs for 12 weeks. Season 3 will start in August 2010. Mixed martial arts has been one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, but has struggled for more mainstream acceptance, gaining most of its audience through niche channels such as Spike TV.