Bellator is back on Showtime, but that’s not the only big broadcasting news the promotion had this week.
On Thursday, Bellator announced a partnership with the United Kingdom’s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to air all of its upcoming 2021 events on the broadcaster’s BBC iPlayer streaming service.
The deal includes all U.S. and European events, beginning with Bellator 255 on April 2 headlined by a rematch between featherweight champion Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez. Earlier this week, it was announced that Showtime will be the new home of Bellator in the U.S.
BBC’s iPlayer is a free streaming service that requires a BBC account. It is not available outside of the U.K.
This partnership marks the continuation of Bellator’s relationship with the BBC. In October, Bellator aired its first event on the network with Bellator Paris, which featured France’s Cheick Kongo fighting Timothy Johnson in the main event, as well as U.K. star Michael “Venom” Page. Bellator Paris was also the first major MMA event to take place in France since the country legalized the sport in 2020.
Previously, Bellator signed a one-year deal with Sky Sports to air events live in the U.K. and Ireland. That move—and now this new partnership with the BBC—ensured that the promotion would avoid any future Peppa Pig incidents.
In September 2018, viewers watching Bellator on the U.K.’s Channel 5 saw their broadcast changed to the Peppa Pig cartoon before the beginning of the Bellator 206 middleweight championship main event between Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald. The event took place in San Jose, Calif., which meant the headliner aired around 6 a.m. in the U.K., resulting in a switch to cartoons due to early morning broadcast restrictions regarding content suitable for young viewers.