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Virgin Media announces deal to broadcast Bellator on Irish TV

MMA fans will be able to watch the promotion on Virgin Media Sport, starting with Bellator London later this month.

Rory MacDonald (left) defended his welterweight world championship title against Neiman Gracie at Bellator 222 over the weekend.
Rory MacDonald (left) defended his welterweight world championship title against Neiman Gracie at Bellator 222 over the weekend.
Image: Frank Franklin II

VIRGIN MEDIA HAS agreed a deal to show live coverage of Bellator events. 

The network formerly known as TV3 has bought the Irish television rights for the popular mixed martial arts promotion and the fight nights will be aired on its sports channel, Virgin Media Sport, from later this month. 

Bellator London on Saturday, 22nd June, is set to be the first event available to watch on Virgin (from 10pm) and future installments of the Bellator MMA European Fight Series will also be broadcast — with details to be announced in due course. 

“We are excited to enter into partnership with Bellator MMA to bring live coverage of Bellator London,” said Kieran Holden, Head of Sport at Virgin Media Television.

David Green, Head of Bellator Europe, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Virgin Media Television to bring the upcoming Bellator London event to fight fans in Ireland on such a trusted and reliable platform.

With such an exciting group of Irish fighters on the Bellator roster at moment, many of which are competing on the card in London, it was only right that we gave our Irish MMA fans the opportunity to watch the event live.

“Bellator London is arguably one of the most exciting and most anticipated MMA events ever to be held in the UK. It promises to be an unmissable, and highly charged night of action with exciting fights from start to finish. I’m delighted that the Irish fans will be able to enjoy the action with us on fight night live from the comfort of their own living rooms.”

MMA: Bellator 222-Danis vs Humphrey SBG Ireland's Dillon Danis made it 2-0 after his win first-round submission of Max Humphrey at Bellator 222. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Bellator last visited Dublin’s 3 Arena in February of this year — when Strabane native James Gallagher claimed a stunning first-round win over Steven Graham in the main event — but it plans to host three further events in Ireland and the UK after Bellator London and before the end of 2019. 

Last weekend saw Rory MacDonald defend his welterweight title in Bellator 222′s headline bout against Neiman Gracie at Madison Square Garden, while UFC veteran Chael Sonnen announced his retirement after his defeat to Lyoto Machida. 

Meanwhile, Conor McGregor’s team-mate, Dillon Danis, submitted Max Humphrey in the first round of his first fight back since picking up a seven-month suspension for his part in the UFC 229 brawl

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Ben Blake

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