LONDON – Leading MMA promotion Bellator has today announced a partnership with UK broadcaster Channel 5, which will see its European fight series televised live on free-to-air terrestrial TV in 2019.
The pioneering deal will see the broadcaster hold exclusive rights to a minimum of at least six UK and European-based Bellator events as part of the agreement.
With such an exciting roster of talent currently signed to Bellator, only Channel 5 viewers will be able to see the very best home-grown talent compete on UK and Irish soil over the coming months, including the likes of Fabian Edwards, Terry Brazier, Chris Bungard and James Gallagher.
The first televised instalment of Bellator's exclusive European fight series will air live on Channel 5 at 10 p.m. GMT, on Saturday, February 9, with Bellator Newcastle: Pitbull vs. Scope.
Former U.K. lightweight champion Ryan Scope makes his Bellator debut in a highly-anticipated main event against perennial title contender Patricky "Pitbull," while former Geordie Shore reality TV star-turned-mixed martial artist Aaron Chalmers looks to remain undefeated against Corey Browning in a lightweight co-main event.
The addition of live MMA action builds on Channel 5's sports portfolio, which now includes Boxing, England Cricket, World Rally Championship and Premiership Rugby.
Paul Dunthorne, COO, EVP, UK, Northern & Eastern Europe, Channel 5 Viacom International Media Networks said: "Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and Bellator are leading the way in the UK with their European Fight Series in 2019.
"We are partnering with an exciting brand and it is great news for our viewers who will be able to watch some of the biggest names in the sport compete live on free to air TV. Bellator brings the very best fight cards to Europe and we are excited to be able to bring our viewers closer to all of the drama and excitement that we know it will deliver.
Paul Dunthorne added: "It's great news that MMA fans in the UK will be able to watch all of the action live from the European Fight Series, starting with Bellator Newcastle next weekend."
David Green, Head of Bellator Europe said: "We are delighted to bring UK fight fans the very best MMA action live on free-to-air terrestrial TV, where it will be seen by the biggest TV audience, bringing viewers closer to the action than ever before.
"Channel 5 is the perfect platform for us to expand the popularity and customer reach of MMA in the UK and I believe they are a great match for our brand. They already have an engaged audience who are committed to the sport and that dedicated fanbase will help us grow here in the UK as we continue to create household names.
"Bellator athletes are among the most talented and exciting in the world and we look forward to seeing the partnership with Channel 5 develop over the next 12 months."
He added: "Bellator Newcastle is stacked with great fights and our relationship with Channel 5 will give even more fans a taste of the excitement and incredible skills on display on fight night. One thing I can promise fight fans tuning in on the night, is fireworks from start to finish."
Bellator is a leading global mixed martial arts and kickboxing promotion featuring many of the best athletes in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on both Paramount Network and DAZN, the world's first truly dedicated LIVE sports streaming service. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
About Channel 5:
Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK's third latest commercial TV station. Launched in March 1997 Channel 5 has been owned by Viacom International Media Networks since September 2014. Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Spike, 5Select and My5 TV reach 3 in 4 of the UK viewing public each month with a diverse schedule including issue-led documentaries, popular factual, accessible history, stunning natural history, inclusive entertainment and reality, top level sport, high quality scripted programming and critically acclaimed children's and news programming. Through its agenda-driving commissions, Channel 5 has led on societal issues from inequality to inner city gang life, homelessness to mental health, aiming to tell the story of modern Britain by reflecting the lives of people across the nation. My5 is an on-demand service allowing viewers to watch content online for free from Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select and 5Spike. In 2018, Channel 5 won its first BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald and was named 'Channel of the Year' at the Edinburgh TV Festival.
About Viacom International Media Networks:
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is comprised of many of the world's most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Channel, VH1, VIVA and COLORS. Viacom brands are seen globally in more than 600 million households in 170 territories and 37 languages via more than 200 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com. Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom's blog at blog.viacom.com and Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Viacom
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