Bellator and DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live sports streaming service and part of Perform Group, today announced a multi-year landmark distribution agreement.
The nine-figure deal will feature seven exclusive stacked fight cards per year on DAZN and another 15 that are simulcast across Paramount Network and DAZN. All fights will stream in any country where DAZN is available. As part of the platform’s global expansion, DAZN will launch in the U.S. and Italy in 2018, with the service already live in Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.
“The exciting new partnership with DAZN is a game-changer for Bellator,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “The investment will enable us to continue expanding our roster with free agents that make sense, so we can put on PPV-worthy fight cards that fans want to see. Plus, on DAZN’s worldwide platform, our fights will be seen live for the first time to new audiences around the globe.”
“It’s simple; fans want to see great fighters in competitive fights so we’ve handed the keys to Scott Coker and his venerable team to go out and recruit even more top-level talent to further stack Bellator fight cards and build on their success,” said DAZN CEO James Rushton. “With the combination of this investment and our recent announcement to bring more than 30 nights of boxing to the platform annually, DAZN will be a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.”
“The DAZN partnership speaks to the incredible growth of Bellator into a global sports powerhouse and high-valued franchise in the Viacom portfolio,” said Kevin Kay, President, Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT.
The deal begins with an epic event on Saturday, Sept. 29 from SAP Center at San Jose. The card features a highly anticipated middleweight title fight pitting Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) against Rory MacDonald (20-4), who is moving up a weight class for a title shot against the 185-pound champ, along with the fourth fight in the legendary rivalry between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva(35-13).
Also included on Sept. 29, will be the opening fight of Bellator’s first-ever Welterweight World Grand Prix, which will feature eight of the best welterweight fighters on the planet. The Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix will be a major component of the first year of the multi-year agreement between Bellator and DAZN.
The event will air live on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks. DAZN, which now streams 15,000 live events and 100 million hours of sports content globally each year, will be available in the U.S. this September with exact pricing and dates being announced this summer.
Mousasi vs. MacDonald:
Gegard Mousasi impressed in his promotional debut over former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, a win that earned him a shot at Rafael Carvalho, where 185-pound gold was on the line. Now, after a decisive victory against Carvalho at Bellator 200, Mousasi will defend his crown against Rory MacDonald, entering the bout with his current unbeaten streak at seven fights. “The Dreamcatcher,” who trains out of The Netherlands, holds one of the most impressive resumes in all of the sport, at one time winning the STRIKEFORCE light heavyweight title, as well as the DREAM light heavyweight and middleweight titles.
Over the last several years, “The Red King” Rory MacDonald has become the most popular Canadian mixed martial artist due to his classic stand-up wars and wins over some of MMA’s best in Paul Daley, Nate Diaz, Tyron Woodley, B.J. Penn and Demian Maia. Bellator’s welterweight champion joined the Viacom-owned promotion in 2016 and went on to defeat Douglas Lima for the welterweight title at Bellator 192. Now, the Tristar Gym-trained fighter sets his sights on winning gold in not one, but two separate weight classes.
“Rampage” vs. Silva:
A six-fight veteran of Bellator, “Rampage” Jackson’s legendary career has seen him compete against some of the top names in the sport, generating a loyal army of fans along the way. The former PRIDE and UFC champion is the proud owner of many epic highlight reel slams and knockouts that he has racked up throughout his epic battles with the likes of Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, “King Mo,” Kevin Randleman and, perhaps most-notably, his trilogy with fellow Bellator athlete Wanderlei Silva, who he now meets at heavyweight on Sept. 29.
Wanderlei Silva’s wars with “Rampage,” Tito Ortiz, Mirko Cro Cop, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Chuck Liddell and Michael Bisping remain some of the more memorable bouts in MMA history. “The Axe Murderer” is far from ready to close the book on his illustrious career, returning to action against a man he has already competed against three times before. In addition to the PRIDE middleweight title, Silva’s trophy case includes awards for “Fight of the Year” (2003, 2004, 2007), KO of the Year (2008) and multiple “Fight of the Night” awards. Most recently, the Brazilian native made his Bellator debut against Chael Sonnen in the main event of Bellator: NYC.
Updated Bellator Fight Card:
Middleweight World Title Bout: Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) vs. Rory MacDonald (20-4)
Heavyweight Feature Bout: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) vs. Wanderlei Silva (35-13)
Welterweight World Grand Prix First Round Bout