Bellator Signs Nine Figure Deal With DAZN
On Tuesday at Viacom headquarters in New York City, Bellator MMA announced a multi-year, nine-figure deal with the Perform Group to bring Bellator events to DAZN.
At a news conference Tuesday in New York, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker and Bellator fighters Wanderlei Silva, Rampage Jackson, Bellator Middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and Bellator Welterweight champion Rory MacDonald, who will be featured on the first DAZN card on September 29th in San Jose.
The deal will feature 22 events streaming on DAZN, with seven events being exclusive to the platform, airing across the world, including the United States.
Bellator President Scott Coker spoke to the growth of the company since joining the brand in 2014. When asked of the deal, Coker said “it says a lot of where [Bellator] is now, and a lot about where we’re going.”
Coker would also introduce new free agent signing Lyoto Machida, who Coker confirmed wants to fight at both 185 and 205 pounds, in an attempt to “keep busy.”
Speaking exclusively with FIGHT SPORTS, following Tuesday’s news conference, Coker claimed all of today’s news is “great for Bellator.”
“It’s gonna help us go after every free agent out there, no matter who it is,” claimed the Bellator boss. “That’s what it comes down to… It’s a big investment on their part, and we’ll deliver.”
“If you’re a free agent, give us a call.”
When asked about the inclusion of DAZN and joining the online platform Coker claimed its a “great compliment” to the effort’s from their parent company Viacom’s continued commitment to the brand. “As a promoter, you need broadcast, you need television, now you need television and online platforms to be successful. My son watches his content differently than I do, so (Dazn) is a great compliment.”
“It makes so much sense to put PPV quality fights on DAZN, to me it’s a win-win. You spend $60-80 fights a year (on PPV), that’s your subscription for the whole year.
DAZN CEO, James Rushton told FIGHT SPORTS exclusively that they are looking to make Bellator the number one MMA Promotion in the world.
“We think there’s an opportunity to disrupt and change the landscape, to invest in MMA, and take on the UFC to be brutally honest.”
Following that announcement, Bellator has also announced an eight man welterweight tournament, following the success of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, also starting on September 29th.
The tournament may feature current champion Rory MacDonald, Douglas Lima, Paul Daley, Michael Page, Ed Ruth, and more.
Jackson and Silva are signed for the fourth fight between the two on September 29th in San Jose, the first card airing on DAZN’s international platform, including the United States. Silva took the first two fights while members of the PRIDE roster, and the third being won by Jackson in the UFC.
When asked about fighting Silva again, Jackson told reporters at Viacom headquarters that “MMA needs more fighters like Wanderlei.”
“He gave me two of the worst a** kickings of my life, but I kicked his a** out of a weight division.”
Jackson would poke fun at his weight on Tuesday, but claimed that his heart and dedication will get him into some of the best shape of his career, as he attempts to tie his series with Silva.
Silva, who last fought inside the Bellator Cage at Bellator NYC, said that he’s changed as a fighter in that he doesn’t get “hit so much in the head… its not good for your health.”
They join the card with Rory MacDonald and Gegard Mousasi in a fight for Mousasi’s Bellator middleweight championship.
Mousasi, who defends his title against his fellow Bellator champion on September 29th, told the press assembled at the Viacom building that, “I have a lot of respect for [MacDonald]… he has heart and is very skilled. I have a fight on my hands.”
MacDonald who has to move up in weight to face off against Mousasi believes that his speed will be his advantage against the bigger Mousasi. Even though he is walking in at a disadvantage, MacDonald is confident in his chances on September 29th, claiming that if he wins, he’d take a fight in both weight classes.
“I’ll fight whoever is the most interesting fight at that time,” the Red King proclaimed from the panel.
DAZN is the Perform Group’s live and on-demand multi-sport streaming service, which has deals to air the NFL and NBA internationally, and recently sturck a with Serie A Futbol soon to launch in Italy. DAZN is airing Soccer, Rugby, Bowling, Darts, Motor Cross among other sports and is currently available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, and Canada.