Bellator MMA is headed to Japan – well, at least on television sets.
The promotion announced a one-year deal with Japan’s AbemaTV, beginning with tonight’s Bellator 158 card.
Below is the complete press release:
Just days ahead of Bellator MMA’s biggest international event to date, “Bellator 158: London,” the fast-rising global MMA franchise announces a one-year broadcast partnership with Japan’s popular AbemaTV. This marks the first carriage deal for Bellator MMA in Japan, a country well-regarded for its passionate and knowledgeable combat sports fan base. In June, AbemaTV broadcasted “Bellator 157: Dynamite 2,” and based on its success, decided to extend to a one-year deal.
“We received great results from our initial event on the AbemaTV platform, and we couldn’t be happier to be extending our deal with them,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “Having spent several years heading the Japanese K1 brand, I developed a great deal of love and respect for Japanese MMA and the country in general. It’s an honor to be able to air our Bellator fights for the incredible MMA fans of ‘The Land of the Rising Sun.’
The extension will kick off with the broadcast of “Bellator 158: London,” which features British sensation Paul Daley (38-13-2), who will look to put on a great show for his hometown fans against former welterweight world champion and knockout specialist, Douglas Lima (26-6). Michael “Venom” Page (10-0) aims to continue his raging pace and remain unbeaten when he challenges himself against MMA veteran “Cyborg” Santos (21-17). Rounding out the televised action, Matt Mitrione (10-5) will return after his emphatic win last month to face “Britain’s Strongest Man” Oli Thompson (17-8) in a heavyweight beater, and James Gallagher (3-0) takes on Mike Cutting (6-5).
In Japan, “Bellator 158: London” will be broadcast on AbemaTV Sunday morning at 10 a.m. JST, simultaneously with the American broadcast on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/PT the night before. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, it will air on SPIKE UK from 9 – 10 p.m. BST and Channel 5 from 10 p.m.
Doors for the event open at the O2 at 4:30 p.m. BST, with limited tickets available at TheO2.co.uk or The O2 Box Office starting at only £40.00.
“AbemaTV is very happy and grateful to have secured this deal to bring Bellator’s exciting fights to our viewers,” said AbemaTV Operating Officer Takunori Fujii. “After the successful viewership figures came in from the first Bellator broadcast we had on last month, it made perfect sense to continue the relationship and be involved with this world-class promotion.”