Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast and the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog.

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

No Holds Barred: The Death of Strikeforce and the Rise of Bellator 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses the death of Strikeforce and the rise of Bellator MMA.

We trace some of the history of Strikeforce, and how its first show in March 2006, featuring Frank Shamrock vs. Cesar Gracie, was directly related to the rebirth of this show. No Holds Barred. After slowly growing, culminating in the inception of the Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2011, Strikeforce was sold in March 2011 to Zuffa. After that, it was only a matter of time until it was closed down, which will happen following the final Strikeforce card on January 12, 2013. We thus discuss the some of the main lessons of the rise and fall of Strikeforce.

Bellator began running shows in April 2009, which were only televised live in the U.S. in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. After a year there and one on Fox Sports Net, where it was preempted numerous times amidst a different schedule in many markets, Bellator began to get more stability with a deal for weekly live shows on TV giant Viacom's MTV2 beginning in March 2011. Then, on October 26, 2011, Viacom itself announced the purchase of a majority stake in Bellator. Beginning on January 17, 2013, Bellator's live weekly shows will be shown in the U.S. on Spike TV, a cable powerhouse and former home of the UFC.

We thus also discuss the growth of Bellator, their tournament format for crowning champions and number-one contenders, their rebranding efforts as Bellator MMA, and their prospects now that they will be live on Spike TV. We also play an excerpt from a Bellator and Spike TV media conference call of December 11, 2012, with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and Spike TV President Kevin Kay about Bellator MMA's first season on Spike TV.

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