Quinton Jackson epitomizes Spike TV’s vision for promoting combat sports. “Rampage” remains a big name in the mixed martial arts world, and he just so happens to be a huge pro-wrestling fan and larger-than-life character that can sell a major MMA fight.
Unlike most networks, Spike TV and parent company Viacom do not run away from the business connection between professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. Remember, Spike TV helped build “The Ultimate Fighter” franchise on the backs of World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Monday Night Raw” television viewers. The network that promoted Tito Ortiz–Ken Shamrock 3 in October 2006 understands how to market marquee names in super fights and attract ratings.
Spike TV’s ratings for Bellator events have increased with time, as the promotion can now draw more than a million viewers for a given show. The network’s pro-wrestling property, TNA Impact Wrestling, regularly attracts more than a million viewers. There is a demonstrable crossover fan appeal between the two properties, and Viacom attempted to promote a Bellator pay-per-view main event between Jackson and Ortiz during TNA’s weekly television shows. Spike TV does not seem to fear embracing the pro-wrestling connection in order to market an MMA match despite the hesitation of television executives, who often view pro-wrestling fans as a lowest common denominator in terms of attracting advertising cash.