Advertisement

MMA Championship Bellator Moves From Showtime To Max

Warner Bros. Discovery is getting into the octagon.

The company has acquired the U.S. rights to Bellator, the mixed martial arts (MMA) championship that previously aired on Paramount’s Showtime.

More from Deadline

The move comes after the Professional Fighters League (PFL) acquired Bellator MMA from Paramount Global last year. Shari Redstone’s company had previously bought majority ownership of Bellator in 2011 and aired its tournaments on a number of its networks.

The news is not a surprise to Paramount; Chris McCarthy told employees in October that Showtime would end its boxing and MMA content at the end of 2023 in order to focus on scripted series.

The new Bellator Champion Series will kick off on Friday March 22 on Max. The series includes eight events staged in cities across the globe, featuring world-ranked fighters and two title fights during each event. It begins in Belfast with Corey Anderson taking on Karl Moore, before moving to Paris in May, followed by Dublin, San Diego, London, Chicago and back to Paris.

TNT Sports will also air a slate of Bellator content throughout the year on its programming block on truTV.

There will also be two new docuseries debuting Thursday ahead of the events. This includes Fight Camp Confidential and Fight Week. Max will also have library content on its service.

“We are thrilled to partner with Professional Fighters League to introduce a new live sport to the U.S. Warner Bros. Discovery content portfolio,” said Josh Walker, Chief Financial & Strategy Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming. “The addition of Bellator Champions Series offers our viewers an opportunity to experience highly anticipated mixed martial arts, nicely complementing our robust slate of can’t miss programming.”

“Following our historic acquisition of Bellator, Professional Fighters League is proud to partner with Warner Bros. Discovery for the highly anticipated Bellator Champions Series to stream exclusively on Max for fans across the United States, at no extra cost to subscribers, when the global franchise launches on March 22,” said Peter Murray, CEO, Professional Fighters League. “We’re excited for audiences to tune into Bellator’s new home on Max for eight Bellator Champions Series events in 2024 taking place in iconic cities around the globe, featuring world title fights and the biggest stars in combat sports. There’s an incredible demand for premium, year-round MMA content from major media platforms and this is the latest milestone in PFL’s ambition to bring the sport’s best to audiences around the world.”

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.