How Bellator are changing up the European MMA scene
This weekend marks Bellator’s return to Ireland and their second main card being shown on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland. This is the first card that will be shown live at a very prime time of 9 pm.
Bellator have invested heavily in European MMA as of recent and are really improving the MMA scene across Europe.
At first, when it when it was announced Bellator had signed a number of European fighters, there were very little European card scheduled. However, now they have strived forward and seem to be consistently hosting major events within the continent. This upcoming event is the second event in European event in February alone. The next we are likely to see after this is when they touchdown in Birmingham in May.
Last year saw the promotion have a significant presence in Italy, something that is expected to carry over to this year too. The promotion also have heavy ties with WFL MMA in the Netherlands, WFL recently held a tournament where the winner would receive a contract with Bellator. In the lightweight tournament final, Peter Buist left with a Bellator contract and is likely to debut sometime this year.
Signed fighters from Europe are also being brought out to the USA for big fights. The best example as of recent is the bout between Paul Daley and MVP last weekend. Englishman Ashley Grimshaw will also make the trip over stateside to headline Bellator 218.
Now finally the deal with Sky Sports yet again bolsters the sport in Europe, particularly in UK and Ireland. The deal allows fighters to gain more exposure and will undoubtedly earn more as a result. Fighting in Bellator alone is a major player for European fighters, as pay checks improve significantly as they would tend to on the local scene. SBG Ireland Head Coach John Kavanagh spoke about this in more detail and what it’s doing for his fighters.
“Saturday night is a changing point for what it is to be an MMA fighter in Ireland and the UK. Until now if you’re a pro on the local scene, you’re fighting for a couple of hundred euros,” said Kavanagh.
“Now with Bellator and the Sky Sports deal, there’s opportunities for guys to make a living, and not just the top guys.
Kavanagh added: “The UFC is going to do what the UFC is going to do, think they are more invested in the American and maybe the Chinese market now as of late, and Bellator are more in the European market.
“My relationship is very strong with Bellator and I’m committed to helping them corner the European market.”