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Bellator 97 Ratings Rise to Close Out “Summer Series”

Kelsey Mowatt

Muhammad Lawal

After Bellator 96 on June 19th failed to pull ratings that were even close to what the promotion’s Season 8 drew on SPIKE, it looks like Wednesday’s Bellator 97 has pulled off a decent rebound. The numbers still don’t match what Bellator was drawing this past spring, but Viacom execs are likely pretty relieved, considering the latest card featured several of the promotion’s biggest names.

According to a report from MMA Weekly, the July 31st Bellator 97 card drew an average of 679,000 viewers for SPIKE, which is nearly 200K more than the 480,000 Bellator 96 pulled in June. The audience apparently peaked at 856,00 after Tito Ortiz came out and the promotion revealed he would fight “Rampage” Jackson on November 2nd.

So, considering Season 8 drew around 800,000 viewers per event, the ratings may be viewed by some as a disappointment. It’s important to remember, however, that traditionally television viewership dips across the board during the summer months. Now, if Bellator’s Season 9 fails to match what the promotion was pulling in the spring, or doesn’t produce any growth, then things could get interesting in the Viacom head office.

Bellator 97 did feature several entertaining performances, as lightweight champ Michael Chandler quickly took out David Rickels, and welterweight champ Ben Askren cruised through Andrey Koreshkov for the stoppage win. The night also saw “King Mo” Lawal overwhelm Jacob Noe with a ground-and-pound attack , and win the promotion’s “Summer Series” light-heavyweight tourney.

Season 9 gets under way on September 7th in Uncasville, Connecticut. Stay tuned to MMA for all your Bellator news and coverage.

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