PFL (Professional Fighters League) acquires Bellator MMA

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The PFL (Professional Fighters League) has acquired Bellator.

The long-expected deal was officially announced on Monday – three days after Bellator 301 in Chicago.

New MMA Global Powerhouse@PFLMMA acquires @Bellator

Our Fighter Roster Equal To UFC – Both 30% Top 25 World Ranked FIghters

PFL Launch Reimagined Bellator – Bellator International Champions Series

Mega-Event For Fans In 2024 – PFL Champs vs. Bellator Champs

— Donn Davis (@DonnDavisPFL) November 20, 2023

Donn Davis of the PFL revealed the news stating that a “reimagined” version of Bellator will be launched focusing on international cards under the banner of Bellator International Champions Series.

Davis added that a major event will occur next year pitting PFL and Bellator champions against each other.

The Financial Times had additional information from Davis including the plan to stage eight Bellator events in 2024 with two title fights per event.

Bellator fighters under contract will have the option to compete in upcoming PFL tournaments and individual fights as part of its “Superfight Series” on pay-per-view.

The news comes one month after Paramount announced the shuttering of Showtime Sports as it will exit the MMA and Boxing industries.

Showtime had been involved with MMA since Elite XC launched in February 2007 and was the home of Strikeforce until it shut down in 2013. It has been broadcasting Bellator cards for the past two years.

Bellator has nine champions in the following classes: Ryan Bader (Heavyweight), Vadim Nemkov (Light Heavyweight), Johnny Eblen (Middleweight), Jason Jackson (Welterweight), Usman Nurmagomedov (Lightweight), Patricio Pitbull (Featherweight), Patchy Mix (Bantamweight), Cris Cyborg (Featherweight), and Liz Carmouche (Bantamweight).

It’s unknown if the ongoing Lightweight World Grand Prix will be concluded next year. The finals are current 155-pound champion Usman Nurmagomedov and Alexandr Shabily – Nurmagomedov was recently suspended for six months due to testing positive for a banned substance.

Bellator was founded by former CEO Bjorn Rebney in 2008 introducing a tournament format.

ESPN reports that Paramount will hold onto a minority stake in Bellator with Donn Davis offering Scott Coker and his team a role with the new company. 

Also per Donn Davis, the PFL has offered Bellator MMA president Scott Coker as well as his entire team an opportunity to stay on with the brand if they want. Paramount is also still involved in the company through a minority stake.

— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 20, 2023

Donn Davis will be appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani at 2 p.m. ET today to discuss the acquisition.