How Badly Will Bellator Suffer From Dispute Between DirecTV and Viacom?
It is far too early to predict the future of rising mixed martial arts promotion Bellator. But if recent disputes between DirecTV and Viacom do not resolve themselves in the near future the young organization could find itself in trouble.
Bellator, one of the only largest MMA companies not under the Zuffa label, airs fights on both MTV2 and Spike, the former home of the UFC.
A dispute in negotiations between DirecTV and Viacom has resulted in DirectTV removing all Viacom channels to include MTV, MTV2, Spike, BET, Comedy Central, VH1, Nickelodeon, and many more.
Viacom asked for an increase in pay of up to 30-percent on their most recent contract. DirecTV recognizes that Viacom produces more than 20-percent of viewership through those channels but refuses to pay the requested increase of up to one billion dollars requested by Viacom.
It is estimated that 20 million viewers will no longer be able to watch these channels; something DirecTV has publicly stated is the fault of Viacom. The recent issues are summed up on the front landing page of DirecTV's website.
"Viacom is responsible for removing Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, TV Land and other channels. DIRECTV did not want this to happen, but Viacom forced us to take them down or face legal action. We're doing everything we can to get these channels back on the air – without an unfair increase to your bill. In the meantime, we want to keep you connected to your favorite shows."
Viacom rebutted DirecTV's statement by taking a war of words to their site as well.
"DirecTV is throwing around some big numbers that are misleading. Here's the truth: Viacom is asking DirecTV for an increase of a couple of pennies per day per subscriber. That's far less than DirecTV pays other programmers with fewer viewers than Viacom. Viacom has always been open to negotiating and hopes to get a deal done."
As of right now Bellator is stuck in the middle of an ugly fight that could take days, weeks or even months to come to resolution, if any at all. The longer the dispute goes on the longer Bellator suffers which ultimately means the MMA fans suffer.