There was a time when, if you wanted to watch a UFC, you had to travel to another state just to find a bar that had a satellite dish. And if you wanted to see an event from a lessor organization, well, if you were lucky you knew someone with a VHS copy.
Now the UFC is everywhere on TV and on multiple digital platforms, and even Bellator – the number two MMA promotion around – is making the jump.
That’s right, Bellator will soon be streaming events on something called DAZN. Here’s the official release:
Bellator, a leading global combat sports franchise owned by Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands, and DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live sports streaming service and part of Perform Group, today announced a multi-year landmark distribution agreement.
The nine-figure deal will feature seven exclusive stacked fight cards per year on DAZN and another 15 that are simulcast across Paramount Network and DAZN. All fights will stream in any country where DAZN is available. As part of the platform’s global expansion, DAZN will launch in the U.S. and Italy in 2018, with the service already live in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.
“The exciting new partnership with DAZN is a game-changer for Bellator,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “The investment will enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents that make sense, so we can put on PPV-worthy fight cards that fans want to see. Plus, on DAZN’s worldwide platform, our fights will be seen live for the first time to new audiences around the globe.”
“It’s simple; fans want to see great fighters in competitive fights so we’ve handed the keys to Scott Coker and his venerable team to go out and recruit even more top-level talent to further stack Bellator fight cards and build on their success,” said DAZN CEO James Rushton. “With the combination of this investment and our recent announcement to bring more than 30 nights of boxing to the platform annually, DAZN will be a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.”
“The DAZN partnership speaks to the incredible growth of Bellator into a global sports powerhouse and high-valued franchise in the Viacom portfolio,” said Kevin Kay, President, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT.
The deal begins with an epic event on Saturday, Sept. 29 from SAP Center at San Jose. The card features a highly anticipated middleweight title fight pitting Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) against Rory MacDonald (20-4), who is moving up a weight class for a title shot against the 185-pound champ, along with the fourth fight in the legendary rivalry between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva(35-13).