Is Bellator about to get bought and stripped for parts, or could there be a little more mileage left on the promotion’s odometer?
Bellator just celebrated its 300th numbered event, but the vibe was a bit off on account of the promotion’s uncertain future. Rumors of an imminent sale are at an all time fever pitch right now. Even Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is out there stirring the pot, claiming parent company Viacom (technically known as Paramount Global now) is ‘out in October.’
Bellator president Scott Coker has tried to calm everyone down, but even he admitted he wasn’t the guy in charge of any sale stuff so it’s hard to read into his non-statements on the subject. His actions, though, seem to imply there may still be some life left in the promotion.
In a new Instagram post, RIZIN FF president Nobuyuki Sakakibara revealed he sat down with Coker leading up to Bellator 300, and they discussed New Years Eve plans. They have promoted two ‘Bellator MMA x RIZIN’ shows together in Japan thus far: a New Years Eve event leading into 2023 and then a July event. Now Sakakibara is teasing another collaboration for this New Years Eve.
“I came to San Diego to observe the Bellator 300 event and meet with officials!” Sakakibara wrote. “On our first night in San Diego, Bellator representative Scott, KOTC representative Terry, and Charlie Kashiwagi ate at an Italian restaurant. We had a great time talking about the martial arts world of the 1990s.”
“Of course, we also talked about New Year’s Eve,” he added. “Everyone, please look forward to it!”
Here’s what we know about Bellator being sold: the PFL is currently deep in talks with Viacom to buy the promotion. While most expect them to swallow the company and absorb their roster, there are reports that PFL plans to continue running Bellator as a separate entity. Talks of another Bellator MMA x RIZIN show certainly support that plan of action.
Of course, that’s what the UFC said they’d do when they bought PRIDE FC from Nobuyuki Sakakibara in 2007. A few months after the purchase, they abandoned the idea, shut the company down, and brought most of the top fighters into the UFC. So anything is possible as this deal continues to slowly wind its way to completion.
What do you think, Maniacs? Are you down for another Bellator vs. RIZIN showdown on New Years Eve? Or would you rather see Bellator fighters enter the PFL fray as soon as possible?