Bellator has a new television home.
The Viacom-owned promotion announced an exclusive partnership with premium cable network Showtime on Tuesday in a special announcement press conference.
Showtime will be the exclusive home for Bellator live events and the partnership kicks off Friday, April 2 with Bellator 255, which is headlined by a featherweight title fight between Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez in a Bellator featherweight grand prix semifinal.
“We’ve been interested in MMA for quite a while,” said Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports president. “We have a long history with MMA that goes back for 15 years to the dates of Elite XC and Strikeforce. We built some big names and stars: (Daniel) Cormier, (Luke) Rockhold, (Roda) Rousey, (Gilbert) Melendez and on and on. And of course, we’re the first to bring MMA to a national televised network and of course that was CBS way back in 2008. The time just felt right to combine forces Bellator has matured and elevated itself at a point where it now belongs in premium television network.”
The standard Showtime subscription cost is $10.99 a month, but the company is offering a free 30-day trial followed by a six-month period at $4.99 a month.
Bellator had been streaming their preliminary fights on YouTube and their main cards on CBS Sports Network – a deal that began in September with Bellator 249. Prior to that, the promotion was streaming fights on the online platform DAZN.
Bellator president Scott Coker has along history with Showtime. Prior to working with Bellator, Coker led Strikeforce which aired on the network from 2007-13.