Paramount has recently made headlines by cutting a deal to sell off its Bellator mixed martial arts promotion. This move will see the company selling a majority stake in Bellator to the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a rising MMA promotion that was established to challenge the UFC’s dominance in the industry. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, previous reports estimated the value of Bellator to be around $500 million. Despite the sale, Paramount will still retain a minority stake in the combined company.
Donn Davis, the founder of PFL, announced the acquisition and revealed that the fighter roster of the combined company will now rival that of the UFC. Additionally, PFL plans to relaunch the Bellator brand next year, signaling significant changes for the promotion.
PFL has been making waves in the industry, having received a substantial investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The organization also boasts minority owners such as Kevin Hart, Mark Burnett, and Wiz Khalifa. These strategic partnerships and investments position PFL as a formidable contender in the MMA landscape.
Paramount’s involvement with Bellator dates back to its predecessor, Viacom, which acquired a controlling stake in the promotion in 2011 for $50 million. Viacom’s support helped establish and grow Bellator, but the company later shifted its focus, allowing the UFC to forge partnerships with other broadcasters. The UFC is currently owned by TKO Group Holdings, a company controlled by Endeavor, and has recently announced plans for a new event in Saudi Arabia, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the MMA industry despite its investment in PFL.
The sale of Bellator comes at a time when Paramount is exiting the combat sports business. The company recently revealed its decision to shut down Showtime Sports and consolidate all sports programming within CBS Sports. As part of this transition, Paramount also announced the discontinuation of live boxing matches on its platforms.
Overall, the sale of Bellator to PFL underscores the evolving landscape of the MMA industry and the increasing competition within the sport. PFL’s acquisition of Bellator reflects the organization’s ambitions to challenge the UFC’s market dominance and expand its global footprint. With strategic investments and partnerships in place, PFL is poised to elevate Bellator’s status and reshape the MMA landscape in the coming year.
In conclusion, the deal between Paramount and PFL marks a significant shift in the MMA industry and sets the stage for an exciting new chapter in the evolution of mixed martial arts. It will be interesting to see how the combined entity leverages its resources and talent to carve out a distinct position in the highly competitive world of combat sports.