US mixed martial arts promotion Bellator is set to return to pay-per-view television for the first time since 2014 for an event held at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Associated Press news agency said Bellator 180 will be held on June 24, featuring a top bill headlined by Chael Sonnen’s long-awaited rivalry bout with Wanderlei Silva.
Bellator, which is owned by US media conglomerate Viacom, will broadcast on PPV for only the second time in promotional history. Bellator staged its only previous PPV event in May 2014, shortly before chief executive Scott Coker took over the promotion.
“We always said that when we come to New York, we'll bring the biggest and the best fight card we've ever had in the history of this company,” Coker told the AP. “We're putting it together, and our roster is robust enough that we feel like it's time to get into the pay-per-view business, so here we go.”
Bellator currently stages regular fight shows on Viacom’s Spike TV, its flagship cable station. Coker said he doesn’t intend to put on PPV shows every few weeks and will instead following boxing’s model of using pay-per-view for only the biggest events.
Bellator’s Madison Square Garden event will come after the state of New York lifted its ban on sanctioning MMA events last year. Rival MMA promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship staged its first card at Madison Square Garden in November, with Conor McGregor headlining UFC 205.