One of the main criticisms of the Bellator product in Ireland and the United Kingdom has been its lack of presence on domestic television in this part of the world, particularly given the fact that the organisation has embarked on a distinct recruitment drive for European fighters in the recent years.
However, the world’s number two MMA promotion is no longer ‘dark’ having signed a deal with UK broadcaster Sky Sports to broadcast events live in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The agreement states that Sky Sports will show 20 US and international Bellator events starting with next week’s hugely anticipated grudge match between Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Paul Daley on Saturday, February 16, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The deal also means that Sky Sports will broadcast Bellator 217 from Dublin’s 3 Arena on February 23 which will be main evented by James Gallagher vs. Steven Graham, and also features a host of Irish fighters including Peter Queally, Charlie Ward, Richie Smullen, Kiefer Crosbie, Will Fleury and many more.
Furthermore, it was also recently announced that Channel 5 will show a minimum of six European Bellator events in 2019.
Georgie Faulkner, Head of Multi-Sports at Sky Sports, said: “We are delighted to be able to partner with Bellator to give our customers the chance to see some of the best, high octane fighters in the world via their MMA 2019 tour.”
Scott Coker, Bellator President, said: “This is a groundbreaking partnership for MMA in the U.K. and Ireland, and we are thrilled to finally bring LIVE Bellator events to our passionate fanbase there. We have worked diligently to find the right network in the U.K. and Sky Sports will undoubtedly deliver for our viewers. I’m excited that our fans overseas will now be able to be part of our events that take place around the globe and witness some of the best athletes in the sport today.”