Bellator MMA have announced an exclusive partnership with Virgin Media Sport to bring live MMA action to Irish screens this year.
The channel has struck deals with Bellator previously, the US-based organisation seen as the biggest rival to the UFC when it comes to its draw and roster depth.
A big plus for Irish fight fans is the huge numbers of Irish fighters currently signed to Bellator, fighting both on their US shows and the Bellator Europe series, the promotion having acquired a lot of those previously signed with the likes of BAMMA in the UK before that organisation folded.
EVERY EVENT LIVE! 👊
Virgin Media Television today announced that we will broadcast every @BellatorMMA event live in 2021!
“We’re delighted to confirm Virgin Media as our broadcast partner in Ireland, a market which is incredibly important to us”, said David Green, head of Bellator Europe on the news.
“We know how passionate the Irish fans are and we cannot wait to return there for live events. This partnership with Virgin Media ensures that viewers in Ireland won’t miss a moment of the world-class action from all our events this year.”
Fights Start Friday
As confirmed by the network, coverage begins as early as this Friday with Bellator 255, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT headlined by Pitbull v Sanchez 2 for the Bellator featherweight world championship as part of the Featherweight World Grand Prix.
Irish bantamweight star and number four ranked James ‘The Strabanimal’ Gallagher (11-1), takes on number two ranked Patchy ‘No Love’ Mix (13-1) in the main event at Bellator MMA 258, set for a live broadcast on Friday 7 May.
That card is also set to feature Waterford native Peter Queally v Patricky Friere. Queally dropped his Bellator debut to Kilkenny’s Myles Price (both pictured above) before bouncing back with a win over Ryan Scope in 2019. His matchup last year against Friere was set for the 3Arena last October but ultimately scrapped over Covid restrictions.
Other Irish fighters signed to the promotion include SBG’s Sinead Kavanagh and Brian Moore along with Leah McCourt who has joined the presenting ranks for Bellator’s European series in recent times.
All of Bellator’s 2021 events will be shown live on either Virgin Media Sport or Virgin Media Two.
Bellator announced earlier this year a landmark partnership with BBC to showcase events via the BBC iPlayer, a move that has been subject to criticism by the UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMS) over health and safety concerns.