Bellator MMA is set to move to the CBS Sports Network in October, holding three events on the channel within the month, per an announcement made by the promotion on Friday.
The promotion’s three-event lineup for October includes their debut in France, the return of featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and an event in Italy on October 1st.
The promotion will leave its previous broadcaster, the Paramount Network (formerly known as Spike) after nearly seven years at the network. The move comes after the 2019 merger between CBS Corporation and Viacom, the company which owned Spike.
Bellator content has been on the CBS Sports Network since late April, as older events have been rebroadcasted under the title of “Bellator MMA: Recharged.”
The current plan is to air the main cards of Bellator on the CBS Sports Network, with the preliminary portions of cards airing on CBSSports.com and the Bellator Youtube channel.
Bellator To Make Paris Debut on October 10th
Bellator announced the promotion’s debut in Paris, France for October 10th. The show is a landmark for MMA, as Bellator is the first major promotion to head to France since the country legalized MMA last January.
Two bouts were announced for the card including French heavyweight Cheick Kongo facing Timothy Johnson.
Kongo last faced defeat in 2015, having won eight fights in nine battles since then. His last fight came in September of 2019 against Ryan Bader, although the fight was ruled a no-contest after an eye poke took Kongo out of the fight.
Johnson is coming off of two wins in 2020, having defeated Tyrell Fortune and Matt Mitrione on previous Bellator shows.
Also announced for the card was a pairing between flashy fighter Michael “Venom” Page and the undefeated Ross Houston.
Houston, a former Cage Warriors Welterweight Champion, will make his Bellator debut on the card. Houston captured the belt in 2018, defeating Stefano Paterno via split decision. He put the belt up against Nicolas Dalby in 2019, although the fight was ruled a no-contest after the canvas in the cage became too bloody.
Page has long been a fighter known in Bellator for putting together highlight reel wins. His last fight was in December, finishing Sinsho Anzai in the second round with punches. He was active in 2019, fighting five times within the year. Among those five fights was his sole loss, being stopped by Douglas Lima at Bellator 221.
In a first for Bellator since their return from COVID-19, the promotion will hold a live audience for their show in Paris. Tickets for the event are set to go on sale on September 15th.
The country of France reported a record high of 9,843 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, a number which tops the previous high of 8,975 cases from September 4th.
Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe on October 15th
Bellator 249 was announced for October 15th with a championship main event. Returning for the first time since capturing a belt, Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg will fight Arlene Blencowe in the main event.
Cyborg’s debut in the promotion came in January, defeating the previous champion Julia Budd in the fourth round with strikes.
The former UFC Featherweight Champion made her promotional debut following a seven-fight stint in the UFC.
Blencowe will come into the matchup on a three-fight winning streak. She last fought in November, defeating Leslie Smith via unanimous decision. Blencowe lost a 2017 title shot against Budd, not being favoured in a split decision after five rounds.
The show is set to be at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA, the venue which Bellator has used for all of their American shows thus far.
Bellator Returns To Italy on October 1st
The press release indicates a return to Milan, Italy on October 1st. The sole fight announced for the card, its headliner, is scheduled to be between welterweights Paul Daley and Derek Anderson.
Bellator last held an event in Milan in October of 2019, doing a nine-fight card headlined by Alessio Sakara and Canaan Grigsby.