Bellator Fighting Championships will make their 2013 debut on Spike TV on Thursday, Jan. 17, and the broadcast will feature two title fights, the company announced on Tuesday.
Lightweight champion Mike Chandler will defend his title against Season 6 tournament winner Rick Hawn, and Pat Curran will defend his featherweight belt against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire on the Spike TV debut. The event will take place at The University of California, Irvine’s Bren Center in Irvine, Calif.
The company also announced that their second broadcast will be Jan. 24, which will feature welterweight champion Ben Askren defending his title against Karl Amoussou. Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal will also be on the second event, but an opponent is yet to be determined. Lawal will have specials dedicated to him airing between the first and second Bellator broadcasts on the network.
Bellator will air events every Thursday for 12 straight weeks, officials said, and broadcasts will start at 10 p.m. ET. Viewers on the West Coast with a dish can watch the fights live at 7 p.m. PT, but cable subscribers will have to wait for a tape delay at 10 p.m. PT.
Five tournaments will take place during the upcoming season, including those in the 145-, 155-, 170-, 185- and 205-pound weight classes. Fighters such as Lawal, UFC veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Seth Petruzelli will be in the 205-pound tournament, while Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima will be in the 170-pound bracket. Others will be added in the near future.
Bellator’s biggest competitor, the UFC, has long presented itself as a Pay-Per-View company. Bellator, however, has made their reputation through cable networks, most recently with MTV2 and next year with Spike — a network that used to host UFC Fight Night cards. When asked, company CEO Bjorn Rebney said there are no immediate plans for a Bellator Pay-Per-View.
Officials said the company is currently casting for its first fight-based reality show, but plans for its debut are still being worked out.
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