Bellator is getting back in the pay-per-view business, and they’ve called on some of the promotion’s biggest names as a result.
The Associated Press is reporting that Bellator will hold an event at the iconic Madison Square Garden in NYC on June 24th, and that a scrap between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will serve as the headliner. The New York Post, meanwhile, is reporting that fight as well, but in addition, it’s been informed that a fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitirone will be the card’s co-main event.
Emelianenko and Mitrione were booked to fight last month at Bellator 172, but kidney stones forced Mitrione to withdraw the morning of the card.
Back in 2014, Sonnen and Silva were supposed to fight when they were still with the UFC. But, after Silva failed to submit to a drug test from the Nevada Commission, the fight was cancelled. Sonnen was flagged for banned substances as well.
So, the news that Bellator is moving forward with another PPV seems to be surprising some folks, and understandably so. The promotion has only held one PPV before, and that was in 2014, with a card headlined by “Rampage” Jackson vs. “King Mo” Lawal.
It will be interesting to see how Bellator 180 does. Although Sonnen and Silva are not the forces they once were in the cage, they remain pretty big name fighters. Sonnen’s Bellator debut in January, when he was submitted by Tito Ortiz, pulled the third biggest TV ratings in the promotion’s history.
Fedor, of course, is one of the greatest fighters the game has known, but it’s not clear if he is a mainstream attraction at this juncture. You could probably say the same for Wanderlei, who hasn’t fought since 2013. One would think that Bellator will be adding other big name fights to the June 24th card as well. Perhaps newly signed fighters like Lorenz Larkin and Ryan Bader will be booked?