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Max Picks Up Bellator MMA Rights as Streamer Leans Into Sports

Max, the Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service, is leaning further into live sports, acquiring the U.S. rights to the mixed martial arts outfit Bellator.

Bellator kicks off on March 22 from Belfast, with eight events set for this year in Paris, Dublin, London, Chicago and San Diego. TNT Sports will also run Bellator content on its new TruTV sports programming block.

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Paramount sold Bellator to the Saudi-backed PFL last year in a deal estimated at around $500 million. The PFL subsequently inked a multi-year rights deal with ESPN, though the Bellator brand is distinct from the PFL brand.

“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,” added Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL. “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.”

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