ESPN Deportes to Broadcast MMA in April
Promotional newcomer Bellator Fighting Championships has secured a
broadcast deal with ESPN Deportes to begin airing MMA events as
early as April 2009, numerous sources have confirmed to
Santa Brito, Communications Manager for ESPN Deportes, confirmed on
Monday that the Spanish-language channel is in “the early
developmental stages of an MMA program.” Brito would not divulge
further information, but clarified that ESPN was currently not
developing any MMA programming on its English-language
ESPN Deportes has more than four million subscribers out of the
nine million recognized Hispanic cable homes, said Brito.
Sources have told Sherdog.com that the proposed 12-week fight
series will center around four eight-man tournaments utilizing the
145-, 155-, 170- and 185-pound divisions. Non-tournament bouts will
also be featured. It is not clear if the events will run live or on
tape delay. Multiple locations across the nation are being
considered for the 12-week shoot, sources have told
American Top Team’s Jorge
Masvidal and Dream standout Eddie Alvarez
have been two of the better-known candidates approached to
participate on the Hispanic-focused roster.
Bellator -- which translates to “warrior” in Latin -- is helmed by
Bjorn Rebney, former CEO and president of Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing.
Rebney and Leonard aired live boxing events on ESPN 2 the first
Friday of every month under the “Friday Night Fights” moniker from
2001-2004. The relationship reportedly soured when Leonard departed
to join NBC’s “The Contender” series.
Rebney would not confirm or deny details of the burgeoning
promotion or its TV deal to Sherdog.com on Monday, but said
information on Bellator would be released in the coming days.
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