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Bellator crosses 100,000 buy mark for inaugural pay-per-view effort

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Whether or not Viacom made a profit is unclear, but Bellator 120 exceeded most predictions about what buy rate it would pull on the challenging waters of pay-per-view.

Sources close to MMA Fighting confirm Bellator 120 has earned over 100,000 buys, and could earn more, although any additional buys are likely to be a very marginal amount as the majority of participating cable operators have reported their results. Sherdog.com was the first to report the news.

"My excitement with this event is based on it having been entertaining and a great 'event'," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting. "And, it's the fan and media response to what we created a couple Saturday's back that's kept that excitement going. I won't be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point.  But, it's just that, a starting point.  My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th."

While no official numbers are made public as pay-per-view buy rates are proprietary information, it is widely accepted the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the market leader in mixed martial arts for success in pay-per-view. Few MMA organizations have attempted a launch into pay-per-view to date. Only the UFC and the short-lived Affliction promotion ever reportedly earned more than 100,000 for a single event. The UFC's baseline for sales, however, is closer to 150,000 with the ceiling having reached as high as 1.6 million for UFC 100 in July of 2009 (for a fuller glimpse into what's reported about UFC pay-per-view buy rates, go here).

Bellator 120 took place on May 17 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. The card featured former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz and was headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Quinton Jackson and Muhammed Lawal. Jackson won the contest via unanimous decision.