Speaking exclusively to FIGHT SPORTS on Tuesday, both Bellator President Scott Coker and DAZN CEO James Rushton made it clear that they are gunning for the number one spot in Mixed Martial Arts.
With the announcement of a multi-year, nine-figure deal will help provide Bellator with a major war chest to go trophy hunting for major names in the MMA space. When asked of the deal, Coker said “it says a lot of where [Bellator] is now, and a lot about where we’re going.”
The first step was poaching former UFC champion Lyoto Machida, who appeared officially for the first time today as a member of Bellator’s roster.
When asked about other potential signings, Coker claimed that Tuesday’s announcement will “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.
“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 coming after the UFC.
“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.”
Rushton believes that the MMA audience is not “under-served,” but also not “over-served” in regards to content, and they are looking to “add value to the way the sport is packaged and sold to fans.”
“Our business is not against pay per view, we think that its not the way for MMA to grow, and we believe our way is the way forward.”
“UFC is a great franchise, its an unbelievable product, but so is Bellator,” Rushton told FIGHT SPORTS on Tuesday.
“The difference between the two is that Bellator has so much more room for it to grow. Its a brand and an organization that is going up… We have a real synergy with the way we think about fans, the conversations have been really positive about what they think what their fans want and need, and what we think about providing that.