Showtime will step into the mixed martial arts octagon with Bellator MMA after reaching a long-term distribution deal with the fight company.
The premium network will launch Bellator in April with fight cards over three consecutive weeks beginning April 2 with the Patricio Freire-Emmanuel Sanchez featherweight championship bout, said the network.
“Showtime is the preeminent home of premier combat sports in America,” said Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports and Event Programming president in a statement. “Today’s announcement not only unites two industry-leading brands, but it unites two teams of experienced event promoters and television producers with a common goal, to deliver the very best live combat sports experience in-arena and on television. We are excited to build on what Bellator MMA has created and to amplify the momentum they’ve gained over the last several years.”
For Bellator, which had been airing its major fights on CBS Sports Network, the deal gives the company up to two events on Showtime a month for the rest of the year. Preliminary matches will stream live on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel and Showtime Sports’ YouTube Channel.
“Everyone in this industry knows the history that I have with Showtime. We have done things together that have shaped the sport of mixed martial arts that you see today,” said Bellator MMA President Scott Coker. “But what’s really exciting about this news is that everything we have already accomplished is just the beginning. Today marks a new era for Bellator MMA. With our new teammates at Showtime, we are going to take this brand to a new level, and you are going to see us build upon the foundation set throughout my time with Bellator.”
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