In the United Kingdom, it used to be that events from Bellator MMA were aired on television on a tape-delayed status.
That’s if Bellator cards were aired on TV in the UK at all.
In September, this changed. The Sept. 29 Bellator 206 card, which was exclusive to subscription-based streaming video platform DAZN in the United States, aired on Viacom-owned Five in the UK.
United Kingdom Bellator fans were to have seen that night’s main event between Gegard Mousasi and Rory Macdonald live as part of the telecast.
However, due to a United Kingdom television law, this was not the case.
As was explained in an article on this Website after the event, since Bellator 206 carried a 15 rating, and since the fight started after 6 a.m. London time Sept. 30, the fight could not be shown.
Instead, children’s cartoon series Peppa Pig was shown.
Recently, the fortunes of Bellator fans in the United Kingdom and Ireland changed when the promotion signed a contract with Sky Sports to air events live in their entirety.
This pact began last Saturday night (early Sunday morning London time) with Bellator 216, headlined by Michael “Venom” Page’s unanimous decision victory against Paul Daley in an opening-round contest for the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix tournament.
Page’s next fight is a May 11 semifinal in Chicago against Douglas Lima.
Bellator MMA events will continue to be aired live on Sky Sports for the rest of 2019, including this coming Saturday’s Bellator 217, which will be tape-delayed for the United States audience to 9 p.m. EST and PST on Paramount Network.
Moreover, Five will air cards from Bellator’s European Series, in addition to Sky’s Bellator pact. The next Bellator European Series event will be on May 4 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
A Feb. 8 press release from Bellator MMA features the details.
Sky Sports is already home to such American-based properties as the NFL, the NBA, the WNBA and the WWE,
For a company that dealt with the unfortunate news of a main event going unaired due to a broadcast law in September, this is something that’s much needed for fans of Bellator MMA, and MMA as a whole. It’s time that fans in the UK get to see the cards live as they happen.
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