The PFL has officially closed a deal to acquire Bellator MMA.
The long rumored sale was made official on Monday with PFL founder Donn Davis announcing the news via Twitter. Multiple people speaking on the condition of anonymity told MMA Fighting that the deal included stock in the PFL which will allow Paramount — the now former owners of Bellator — to maintain a minority ownership in the promotion.
New MMA Global Powerhouse@PFLMMA acquires @Bellator— Donn Davis (@DonnDavisPFL) November 20, 2023
Our Fighter Roster Equal To UFC - Both 30% Top 25 World Ranked FIghters
PFL Launch Reimagined Bellator - Bellator International Champions Series
Mega-Event For Fans In 2024 - PFL Champs vs. Bellator Champs pic.twitter.com/Ma4YUl4AUi
“This totally changes the MMA landscape overnight,” Davis told The Financial Times. “You essentially put two number two companies to create a co-leader. The combined PFL Bellator roster now has 30 percent of its fighters who are ranked top 25 in the world by Fight Matrix. That’s the same as UFC has in their roster.”
As of now, Bellator will continue to operate as its own promotion under a “reimagined” system at PFL called the Bellator International Champions Series. The Bellator series will include eight events per year with each card featuring two title fights at the top.
Bellator fighters currently under contract with the promotion will be available to compete in the PFL, which includes the season-long tournaments as well as the upcoming “superfight” series on pay-per-view that launches in 2024.
As part of his initial announcement, Davis also stated that there will be a “mega event” in 2024 with plans to promote a card pitting PFL champions against Bellator champions.
The PFL acquiring Bellator MMA has been in the work for months as Paramount looked to offload the MMA promotion that first launched back in 2008. The promotion was then acquired by Viacom in 2011 with Bellator promoting cards across multiple networks including CBS and Showtime.
In October, Paramount announced that Showtime would close its sports division, which included both boxing and MMA on the network. That was essentially the final nail in the coffin for Bellator’s future with the company as talks for a sale intensified.
Now that deal is done with PFL purchasing Bellator to create a whole new organization and the clear cut No. 2 rival behind the UFC.
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