Bellator MMA’s tape-delayed nightmare is no more.
The promotion has agreed to terms on a new five-year, “nine-figure” distribution deal with online streaming service DAZN, Bellator officials announced Tuesday at a press conference at Viacom’s New York headquarters.
The partnership will see Bellator air seven events per year exclusively on DAZN, plus an additional 15 events that will be simulcast in the United States on both Paramount Network and DAZN. Events that air via tape delay on Paramount Network will nonetheless be streamed live on DAZN.
“This exciting new partnership with DAZN is a game-changer for Bellator,” Bellator President Scott Coker stated in a press release. “The investment will enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents that make sense so we can put on pay-per-view-worthy fight cards that fans will 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.”
The deal is slated to launch with the September 29 event in San Jose that features a champion vs. champion superfight between Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald, a fourth match between MMA legends Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson, plus the start of Bellator’s upcoming welterweight grand prix. That event will air exclusively on DAZN.
DAZN’s deal with Bellator follows a similar partnership the Perform Group-owned streaming service inked last month with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promotion worth a reported $1 billion over eight years. That deal will see DAZN stream 32 boxing cards per year on its platform, and combined with the Bellator partnership, DAZN could soon become a viable new player in the combat sports space.
“From launch, you’re going to have access to a premium, prime boxing fight night or a premium, prime MMA fight every single week of the year,” DAZN CEO James Rushton said Tuesday in New York. “I think it’s fair to say, from launch, DAZN will be a must-have for combat fight fans, and we’re excited. We take on that challenge of disrupting a market, of disrupting an industry, of disrupting and helping grow a sport.”