Bellator MMA on Thursday announced that it is finally moving into the U.K. market with a new television deal.
Bellator will begin airing its live events with Bellator 96 on June 19 on the VIVA channel in the U.K. VIVA is owned by Viacom, which is also owns Bellator and Spike TV.
VIVA will air Bellator’s Summer Series events, as well as its ninth season over the fall and winter of this year.
Bellator’s foray into the U.K. market increases its global reach to 116 countries and territories. Available in every one of the U.K.’s 26 million TV households, VIVA has one of the highest profiles amongst 16 to 34-year-olds of any UK channel, with 50 percent of its audience comprised of that hard-to-reach demographic.
Bellator is the first mixed martial arts franchise to be televised on the channel.
“We are thrilled to finally bring the pure excitement of Bellator MMA to the legions of dedicated and knowledgeable mixed martial arts fans in the U.K.,” remarked Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Our long awaited expansion into the U.K., one of the world’s MMA hot beds further illustrates our continued ascension in the MMA world.
Bellator also recently announced the signings of three top U.K. MMA fighters in Martin Stapleton, Rob Sinclair and Paul Sass.
Rebney on a Wednesday conference call indicated that Bellator would be bringing several fighters from the U.K. based Wolfslair fight team to the promotion following its signing of Wolfslair fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
With the VIVA deal in place, Bellator will continue to aggressively pursue top British fighting talent.