Bellator MMA’s move to Showtime stateside isn’t the only major move the promotion is making on the broadcast front.
On Thursday, Bellator officials announced via press release that the promotion had inked a historic broadcast deal with BBC Sport. Under the agreement, all of Bellator’s 2021 shows will be aired via the BBC iPlayer service in the U.K. That follows on the heels of the promotion airing a single event, Bellator 248 in Paris, France, on the service last year.
Bellator’s 2021 slate of events will air live on iPlayer, and also be available as on-demand content after the fact. “Bellator events will also benefit from increased prominence across BBC Sport’s digital platforms such as the BBC Sport website and app,” Thursday’s announcement boasted.
The new deal will take effect in time for the first show of the promotion’s calendar year, Bellator 255 on April 2. That event will see Patricio “Pitbull” Freire defend his 145lb title in a featherweight grand prix semifinal against Emmanuel Sanchez.
“Following on from the success of the Paris show we are delighted to continue our partnership with Bellator,” Ben Gallop, Head of Digital, BBC Sport was quoted as saying in Thursday’s press release. “We look forward to bringing live, free to air Bellator action to both existing and new fans of MMA on BBC iPlayer.”
Bellator now has a new broadcast home in both the United States and United Kingdom, with other deals potentially still pending. The promotion is currently without a Canadian broadcast partner.