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Showtime To Air Regular Bellator MMA Bouts from ViacomCBS-Owned Circuit – Deadline

The Bellator MMA Fighting Circuit, owned by ViacomCBS, will broadcast its matches on its corporate cousin Showtime as the premium network continues to increase its investment in ring sports.

Three consecutive Fridays in April, prime-time Bellator games from Mohegan Sun Arena in Southeast Connecticut will usher in the relationship. The arena is part of a casino complex that has gradually reopened parts of its footprint with security restrictions. He recently hosted NCAA “bubble”-style college basketball games, a concept considered by many sports players during the coronavirus pandemic. Together, Bellator MMA and Showtime have hosted over 20 live events at the Mohegan Sun since July 2020.

Viacom, which merged with CBS in December 2019, initially bought a controlling stake in Bellator in 2011 after years of being licensed to broadcast its games. In recent years, Bellator has aired on various cable networks, including Spike (which was later renamed Paramount Network) and CBS Sports Network.

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Showtime recently increased its investment in boxing, a sport it has been broadcasting since 1986, when longtime rival HBO stepped out of the ring. Mixed martial arts have proven their worth with young viewers. Although Bellator does not have quite the same profile as the UFC, its games have maintained constant follow-up. The new agreement will make Showtime the “preeminent home for premier combat sports in America,” Stephen Espinoza, president of the network’s sports and events programming, said in a press release. “We are excited to build on what Bellator MMA has created and build on the momentum they have gained over the past few years.”

Fighters and executives participated in the announcement of the partnership this afternoon, outlining times and maps for upcoming tournaments over the next few months. Plans call for Showtime to broadcast up to two Bellator events per month for the remainder of 2021. The sub-card prelims will be streamed for free on YouTube, and Showtime is offering new subscribers a promotional rate for Showtime’s OTT streaming service for $ 5 per month (more than half off) for the next six months.

Bellator MMA president Scott Coker spoke about past collaborations with Showtime. “We’ve done things together that have shaped the sport of mixed martial arts you see today,” he said. “But what’s really exciting about this news is that everything we’ve already accomplished is just the beginning.”

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