UK fans will be able to watch next weekend’s Bellator 131: Ortiz Vs Bonnar event at 9pm (UK time) on Sunday, November 16th, a day after it airs live in the U.S, thanks to a deal struck with the 5* channel.
“We are very pleased to have one of the UK’s most popular free-to-air networks airing one of the biggest fights of the year,” Bellator CEO Scott Coker said in a statement.
“With Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Michael Chandler, Will Brooks, King Mo and Melvin Manhoef all featured on this card, our friends in the UK are in for an unforgettable, action-packed night. We look forward to making Bellator an MMA fixture for our fans in the UK.”
5* is an offshoot of ‘Channel 5’, one of the UK’s main terrestrial TV channels and is aimed at a young demographic, pulling in 18 million viewers a month.
This is far from Channel 5’s first venture into the MMA market, with the UFC’s ‘Ultimate Fighter’ reality show previously having aired on the ‘5 USA’ channel, while this year’s UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson Vs Manuwa event aired live on the main Channel 5 channel and was watched by 591,000 viewers.
Bellator’s events have previously aired on the smaller VIVA network in the UK, but that deal came to an end earlier in the year and it’ll be interesting to see whether Bellator 131 will lead to a longer term arrangement being struck with the 5 network heading into 2015 when the promotion will be switching to a monthly rather than weekly format.