Midweek Column: Bellator MMA Taking Steps Forward In The UK Market
Hurrah, it appears that Bellator MMA is finally making some big steps forward in the UK.
Two big announcements occurred earlier today, the first being that Bellator 206 will air LIVE on Channel 5 this Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 3 am.
The main card features a stacked line-up including a champion vs champion showdown between Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald.
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva, Andrey Koreshkov vs. Douglas Lima, Leandro Higo vs. Aaron Pico, Keri Melendez vs. Dakota Zimmerman and Gaston Bolanos vs. Ysidro Gutierrez will complete the fights scheduled to air on the UK Freeview channel in what will be a landmark moment for UK fans.
It appears that Bellator and Spike have finally seen sense to air the fights LIVE, but before we all get too excited, it’s worth knowing that this is currently only a one-off deal and there’s no promise that this will continue in the future.
It’s up to you now…
So with that said, it’s time that you, the UK fans, put your money where their mouth is. You demanded that the fights be aired live, so now it’s up to you to sit in front of your TV screens at 3 am this Sunday morning to watch.
Its pretty simple, this is a game of numbers and ratings and if enough people tune in, then there’s no reason whatsoever why Bellator and Spike wouldn’t continue to broadcast Bellator cards LIVE.
If you don’t, then they might as well just continue the tape delay strategy we’ve had to suffer through for the last few years.
Frankly, if you aren’t going to tune into MacDonald vs Mousasi LIVE then I don’t know what Bellator could do to make you sit in front of your TV screen at this ungodly hour.
For me, this is all pretty simple. This is a test this weekend and if you don’t tune in, you better not complain about it not being aired LIVE in the future.
In the second announcement today, Bellator released the news that former BAMMA matchmaker Jude Samuel will be taking over “European fighter relations, talent development and matchmaking efforts.”
Anyone that’s been around the UK MMA scene will have come across Samuel and will be well aware of his talents both making exciting fights and dealing with fighters in a fair and transparent manner.
The Bellator platform will no doubt give him further opportunities to build an exciting roster of talent in the European market and we’ve all seen the recent slew of signings that have made it clear that they aren’t messing around in the region.
I’ve made no effort to hide my feelings on Bellator’s recent talent acquisition in Europe and I’m taking a backseat view on it all.
They’ve signed a lot, if not all, of this talent to exclusive contracts and if they can get them the right amount of fights each then it’s good business all around.
If they can’t and this talent is kept cold on the sidelines until Bellator have their European events then that’s when we might be run into problems.
But let’s not take a negative view on it all.
The news today suggests that Bellator is making moves in the European and UK MMA market especially and that for all of us in the UK is exciting news.