Bellator MMA is going to Madison Square Garden on June 24 with a pay-per-view event. The Associated Press first reported the news on Monday.
Bellator 180 will be headlined by a grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. It will be the second time the fight promotion has held a pay-per-view event.
“We always said that when we come to New York, we'll bring the biggest and the best fight card we've ever had in the history of this company,” Bellator president Scott Coker told the AP. “We're putting it together, and our roster is robust enough that we feel like it's time to get into the pay-per-view business, so here we go.”
Sonnen and Silva have a storied history. The two coached opposite one another on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 in 2014. During the filming of reality series, the two got into a full-contact altercation. They were scheduled to fight on three separate occasions, but the bout never materialized.
“I'll fight Wanderlei Silva the next time I see him,” Sonnen said. “I fought Wanderlei Silva the last time I saw him. I'm glad it's going to be an organized event. I'm glad it's not going to be something outside of the ring.
“I've watched how hard Bellator has worked and how they've stuck through it, and I think they belong on pay-per-view,” Sonnen added. “After I joined up, I was stunned that Bellator was packing houses from the East Coast to the West Coast. They've got a great product, and it just seemed like the next logical step was going into pay-per-view.”
Despite the inability of the UFC to make the Sonnen vs. Silva fight happen in the past, Coker is confident that Bellator 180 will go off as planned and be one of the biggest events of the year.
“I think (Bellator 180) will be the most exciting fight card in MMA this year so far,” Coker said. “I mean, who knows what's going to happen before the end of the year, but I think this is going to be the biggest fight card put together by any company so far in the pay-per-view business, and we feel really good about it.”