Bellator MMA Moving Exclusively to Showtime

Bellator MMA has found a new home. The fighting promotion recently announced it is moving to Showtime as both parties are owned by ViacomCBS. The television deal begins in April with the first being a series of Friday night events. Bellator 255 will air on Showtime on April 2 and feature Patricio Freire vs. Emmanuel Sanchez for the featherweight title.

The fights will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The venue has previously hosted NCAA college basketball games after gradually reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mohegan Sun Arena has been Bellator's home since returning to action in July 2020.

Viacom merged with CBS in December 2019. In 2011, Viacom bought a majority stake in Bellator after years of licensing rights to air its matches, according to Deadline. Over the years, Bellator has aired on various network channels, including Spike (now called Paramount Network) and the CBS Sports Network. Stephen Espinoza, Showtime's president of sports and event programming said adding Bellator will make Showtime the "preeminent home of premier combat sports in America. We are excited to build on what Bellator MMA has created and to amplify the momentum they've gained over the last several years."

The plan is to have Showtime air two Bellator events per month for the rest of the year. YouTube will stream preliminary undercard matchups, and Showtime is offering new subscribers a promotional rate for Showtime's OTT streaming service for $5 a month for the next six months.

"Everyone in this industry knows the history that I have with SHOWTIME. We have done things together that have shaped the sport of mixed martial arts that you see today," Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said in a press release. "But what's really exciting about this news is that everything we have already accomplished is just the beginning. Today marks a new era for Bellator MMA. With our new teammates at SHOWTIME, we are going to take this brand to a new level, and you are going to see us build upon the foundation set throughout my time with Bellator."


Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.