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Report: Bellator MMA expected to move to CBS Sports Network this September

Bellator 238 Julia Budd v Cris Cyborg Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Bellator MMA has been a major staple for the Paramount Network (formerly known as Spike) since 2013, but the popular MMA organization is on the verge of switching broadcast partners this September.

As Bellator continues to sink its teeth into a combat sports market shared with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and professional boxing, the 12-year-old promotion must explore new avenues to increase viewership and global appeal. Signing the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Cris Cyborg, Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi, Benson Henderson, and Ryan Bader over the years has proved wonders, but Bellator needs to go even further.

That is why the Viacom-owned organization is transitioning from Paramount Network to CBS Sports Network in a matter of weeks. ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani detailed the broadcast switch Friday night, revealing Bellator’s final show on Paramount Network will be on Sept. 12, which will feature a bantamweight championship bout between top contenders Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix.

“Bellator’s final show on Paramount Network will be on Sept. 12, sources say. That’s the card headlined by Archuleta x Mix. They will then move over to CBS Sports Network. Debut date for CBSN is TBD. Prelims + main card there. Bellator first aired on Spike/Paramount in Jan. ’13,” wrote Helwani.

“Future could lead to big CBS/Showtime events but that’s not planned yet. All sources I’ve talked to expressed excitement over the move. Feeling was Paramount was not a great fit. They’d prefer to be on a sports channel and will get promoted more there. My 2 cents: I agree,” he continued.

“Technically, there is one year left on the DAZN deal, but their future isn’t 100%, so that is TBD, too,” concluded Helwani.

Remember, Viacom re-merged with CBS Corporation back in 2019 paving the way for this type of move. Back in April, Bellator debuted on CBS Sports Network to showcase “Bellator MMA Recharged.” The series replayed some of Bellator’s most memorable fights while giving the promotion another avenue to expand during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the day, switching from Paramount Network to CBS Sports Network should allow Bellator to grow even larger and attract more fighters away from the other major promotions. Bellator still has to deal with the mystery of DAZN’s future, but at least Scott Coker and company will have a new home this September.

What do you think, Maniacs? Will this be a good move for Bellator MMA? Can it help close the gap with UFC?

Sound off!