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MMA coming to ESPN Deportes

November 19, 2008 |  4:10 pm

It won't have the team concept of the defunct International Fight League, or the reality material of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter.

The new Bellator Fighting Championships to air on ESPN Deportes beginning in April will showcase fights in four weight divisions and spend time delving into the 32 competitors' personalities.

Eight fighters in each of the four divisions will compete to win a maximum $175,000.

"I'd like to see what drives a regular guy on the street to have the courage to step into the ring," said Bjorn Rebney, founder and chief executive of Bellator (Latin for warrior). "You don't get a lot of that in MMA. Who they are, why they compete?"

Rebney said airing the series on ESPN Deportes is intended to capitalize on "the Hispanic market's amazing following in the fighting sports, it's a hugely prolific market." The series' recruiters are also planning to bring Spanish-speaking fighters into the show, from Brazil, Portugal and Spain.

Rebney confirmed Spain's 185-pound Daniel Tabera, who has fought in the Japanese fight organizations PRIDE Fighting Championships and Dream, will be a participant. Bellator is also expected to land lightweights Jorge Masvidal and Eddie Alvarez, along with former UFC and Elite XC fighters.

-- Lance Pugmire