A few weeks ago, Bellator MMA president, Scott Coker, talked about rumors of a potential sale of the promotion. While he didn't go into full detail, Coker did at least confirm there have been discussions about a major move.
During a recent media scrum ahead of Bellator 297, which goes down later tonight (Fri., June 16, 2023) in Chicago, Ill., Coker opened up a bit more about a transaction that could potentially have a big impact on the current mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape.
That said, the former Strikeforce CEO insists the promotion is leaning more toward taking on a partner.
"Bellator has been looking to take a partner. That’s really been Viacom that’s been handling that," Coker said (via MMA Junkie). "So we’ll see where that nets out. We’ll probably have some clarity in the next 60 to 90 days.”
When asked about a potential partner, Coker revealed that Professional Fighters League (PFL) is indeed in the running, but wouldn't clarify if it would be an all-out takeover of the promotion or a joint partnership.
"They're definitely in the conversation,” Coker said. “There's a couple conversations going on right now with Viacom and a couple companies and PFL is definitely one of them. I'd rather not speculate because it could go a lot of different ways so let's just see what happens.”
If Bellator MMA takes on a partner like PFL in what could be considered a mega merger, both companies could continue to operate individually with perhaps the possibility of more cross-promoted events.
In a complete buyout, however, the MMA scene would change drastically and give the buyer the option to take on all of the financial responsibility attached to fighter contracts, further bolstering its roster much like UFC did when it purchased PRIDE in 2007.
There’s also the outside chance UFC comes swooping in as a surprise player, though it would probably do better to pass on Bellator MMA to avoid more accusations of a complete MMA monopoly.