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Special announcement revealed: Bellator Kickboxing coming to Spike TV in 2016

Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA would like you to meet its new sibling, Bellator Kickboxing.

Promotion president Scott Coker made the surprise announcement during Thursday's press conference in Houston, Texas (watch the replay here), where the Bellator cast and crew is currently preparing for Friday night's "Shamrock vs. Gracie" event on Spike TV.

And he wasn't alone.

Joining the former Strikeforce promoter were a handful of recognizable stars from the world of stand-up fighting, including Joe Schilling, Kevin Ross, Kerri Taylor-Melendez, and Anastasia Yankova, among others. Spike executive John Slusser and Italian fight promoter Carlo Diblasi were also in attendance.

The debut event is set for April 16, 2016 in Torino, Italy, immediately following Bellator 152 on Spike TV.

Headlining the card will be longtime veteran Melvin Manhoef in a five-round slugfest opposite Alexandru Negrea. Elsewhere in the line up, current ISKA 72kg champion Mustapha Haida will move up in weight to challenge Karim Ghajii for his ISKA 75 KG belt.

"Kickboxing is a thrilling, non-stop action-packed sport that I believe will resonate with MMA fans," Coker said. "Our first goal is to develop stars and showcase these incredible athletes on the No. 1 home for combat sports, Spike TV."

The network is not unfamiliar with kickboxing, having recently tested the stand-up waters with GLORY. The advantage to operating outside of co-promotion is Coker -- himself a former kickboxer and kickboxing promoter -- can now control the matchmaking, as well as the direction of the organization.

GLORY went on to join ESPN and UFC Fight Pass.

Bellator Kickboxing also gives current fighters like Schilling and Paul "Semtex" Daley the ability to switch back and forth between disciplines, depending on what opportunities are available. That said, "Stitch 'Em Up" still has two fights remaining on his GLORY contract.

Say cheese!

So how about it, fight fans, will you be tuning in?

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