The Bellator Fighting Championships will make its Spike TV debut on Thursday, Jan. 10, as the promotion kicks off its eighth season with Bellator 85 from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Sherdog.com on Thursday confirmed with New Jersey State Athletic Control Board official Nick Lembo that Bellator has applied for the aforementioned date and venue, and additional sources close to the event suggested that the show will mark the Viacom-owned promotion’s debut on Spike TV. MMAJunkie.com first reported the development.
While no bouts have been officially announced for the Season 8 premiere, the show is expected to lead off with the winners of Spike TV’s “Vote for the Fight” fan poll, in which Douglas Lima, Ben Saunders, War Machine and Paul Daley are all participating. Fans vote for which two men they would like to see square off, and the matchup garnering the most votes will then be made.
The event will be overseen by referees Dan Miragliotta, Kevin Mulhall and Keith Petersen, while Eric Colon, Henry Krawiec, Carlos Rodriguez, Dave Tirelli, Tony Tamburrino and Cardo Urso will serve as cage-side judges. Additionally, recently retired UFC middleweight and New Jersey native Tom DeBlass will assume the role of a shadow judge.
Bellator is currently winding down its seventh season, which airs Fridays on MTV2. The organization is holding tournaments in four different weight categories this season and will return this Friday with the lightweight semifinals at Bellator 81. That event takes place at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I., and will see WEC veteran Dave Jansen lock horns with Brazilian talent Ricardo Tirloni, while former UFC competitor Rich Clementi faces Polish prospect Marcin Held.