Following an exclusive interview with Spike TV president Kevin Kay, SI.com's Loretta Hunt is reporting that Bellator MMA is moving from Thursday to Friday nights from 9-11 p.m. ET starting Sept. 13.
The move came via a process of elimination:
Monday: Monday Night Raw
Tuesday: Original programming
Wednesday: UFC programming on FOX Sports 1
Thursday: TNA believed better than Bellator vs. NFL
Friday: Bellator MMA
Despite the California-based promotion’s tangible growth this past season, Kay said the NFL’s return this fall precipitated an obligatory move for Bellator.
TNA Impact Wrestling, which previously served as Bellator’s lead-in, has already been moved back into Thursday’s 9 p.m. slot, where Kay said pro wrestling’s dedicated audience will hold up better against sport’s greatest juggernaut. Kay said the strength of WWE’s Monday Night Raw and Spike’s Tuesday night original programming eliminated an early-week slot for Bellator, which left Wednesdays or Fridays.
Fox Sports 1, the rebranded Speed channel, announced in May that it would feature UFC programming on Wednesdays.
“I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC,” said Kay. “I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”
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