Bellator’s first live event on Spike TV doesn’t take place untilĀ  January 17th, but this past Thursday night the promotion got it’s first taste of life on it’s new network when two hours of highlights from previous shows aired as part of a new ‘Bellator 360’ series.

An average of 461,000 viewers watched the first hour-long episode, with 513,000 tuning in for the second hour.

By anybody other than the UFC’s standards that’s good going, well over double what they were able to achieve for their live events on MTV2 and indicates that MMA fans are still following the channel which bodes well for their season 8 premiere in a couple of weeks time.

Whatever happens there’s no doubt this is going to prove to have been a good move for Bellator, but the question now is whether they can get anywhere near the kind of ratings that the UFC did during their long run on the network.

I’d anticipate a pretty decent number for the premiere given that there’s going to be a curiosity factor amongst MMA fans, the lure of two title fights and crucially the fact that it’ll come directly after an episode of TNA Wrestling which can pull around a million viewers.

Somewhere around 700-800,000 viewers is possible for Bellator’s first show I think, but it’ll be more interesting to see how many of those initial viewers they can keep week-in week-out once the novelty wears off.

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Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.