As MMA fans are aware, 2023 has been a tumultuous year for the Scott Coker-led company Bellator. Speculation about a potential acquisition by the PFL has been rife since Todd Atkins first reported it earlier this summer.
The million-dollar agreement has mostly been done in public as Viacom announced their intention to remove combat sports from Showtime.
With Bellator in need of stability, it became evident that the UFC was not interested in taking the reins. UFC CEO Dana White even openly questioned why anyone would consider purchasing the company. However, he later conceded that the end of Bellator would not bode well for the sport as a whole.
Today marks a significant milestone in this story. Speaking on X earlier today, Al Zullino announced that the deal has been finalized. PFL is now the official owner of Bellator. As of 2024, they will assume control of the entire promotion, managing both entities independently until 2026.
While not explicitly outlined in the report, it is anticipated that PFL will oversee Bellator separately until 2026. This is likely due to pre-existing contractual commitments.
This decision echoes the approach taken when the UFC acquired Strikeforce in early 2011. UFC kept the company in operation for several years, primarily driven by contractual obligations.
As of now, there has been no official confirmation from either party regarding the sale. However, such news would hardly come as a surprise.
Heavyweight champion Ryan Bader disclosed earlier this month that Viacom was reluctant to pay the check for short-notice opponents for Bellator 300.
The acquisition of Bellator by the PFL marks a pivotal moment in the landscape of MMA. The future holds exciting possibilities for the sport as these two prominent entities forge ahead. The intricacies of this acquisition and its broader implications for the sport will undoubtedly unfold in the time to come.