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AEW’s Tony Khan denies reported interest in buying Bellator MMA

The Khan family owns teams and leagues across multiple sports, but hasn’t looked at getting into the mixed martial arts (MMA) realm by buying Bellator, according to Tony Khan.

TBS’s AEW Dynamite Los Angeles Debut After Party Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

You can cross the Khan family off the list of potential Bellator MMA suitors.

Earlier this week, The MMA Hour host, Ariel Helwani, discussed how Bellator MMA has been on the market for the past several months, with parent company Viacom looking to sell the promotion by year’s end. Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) is considered a possible buyer, and Helwani listed two other groups that expressed interest: Liberty Media (owners of F-1 racing and the Atlanta Braves) and the Khan family (owners of AEW, Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC).

While promoting AEW’s “Forbidden Door” pay-per-view (PPV), Tony Khan denied there’d been any talks about buying Bellator.

“I was surprised to see that report,” Khan said. “I haven’t had any conversations with them about that, so I don’t know what that was about. My father hasn’t had any conversations with them, either. I’m not even sure who you talk to. I don’t even know who owns the promotion. Is Scott Coker the owner, the president? I’m not sure.

“I’m familiar with Bellator, I’m familiar with MMA,” he continued. “I’ve never worked professionally in the space, other than having some stars from UFC appear at times in AEW. I saw that report, and there’s really nothing to that.”

So what happened — did Helwani just get it wrong?

He’s got a decent track record when it comes to stories like this and isn’t one to just make up stuff. Khan, on the other hand, has been known to twist stories to suit his whims and control the narrative. He’s been in a strange beef with Helwani for months now, and threw the reporter under the bus while denying the Bellator story.

“Was that something Ariel Helwani reported?” Khan asked. “Okay, well it would not be the first inaccurate thing Ariel Helwani has reported. That is completely inaccurate, but that’s Ariel Helwani for you.”

This is why it’s probably a good thing that Bellator isn’t being sold to professional wrestling guys: you never know what’s true or false in that world because half the stories are works, and the other half are works that have turned into shoots. As it stands, PFL is currently the frontrunner as far as potential buyers for Bellator goes.

It would certainly be interesting to see what they could do to the MMA landscape if the two merged in 2024.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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