Comment: Sky’s venture into MMA could be the catalyst for recognition of MMA as a sport.

Sky Sports and Bellator struck a deal earlier this week for a one year deal with the promise to show live events to fans in the UK and Ireland.

If you’ve ever listened to our podcast, or any other European based podcast for that matter, time and time again the topic of no TV deal for the UK and Ireland from Bellator has popped up.

This time the topic comes up again but it’s positive news for UK and Irish fans who have been screaming for live Bellator events for several years now. This weekend’s Newcastle card will be shown on Channel 5 but going forward, the promotion will have live events on Sky Sports and this could be the springboard for legitimising a sport that has received criticism from several quarters.

Sky will broadcast Bellator 216 and features one of the most anticipated British clashes of all time featuring Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Paige.

MMA as many may not be aware, is not recognised as an official sport in Ireland and events taking place in the country are regulated under SAFE MMA, a British not for profit medical outfit dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of fighters pre, during and post fight.

It remains the sole governing body of MMA in Ireland and the UK with zero funding given by either government but with the backing of Sky Sports, this could hopefully speed up the process of registration of MMA as being recognised as an official sport.

With a vast array of sports showing on the Sky Sports platform and a dedicated 24/7 news station, MMA is likely to receive more attention than it ever has before and with the hype machine of Sky fully behind Bellator, it’s good news for the fighters and the sport as a whole.

Sky’s handling of boxing promotion has been excellent business for them and whether you believe the hyperbole they put into their events or not, they know exactly how to sell a fight.

It could also be good news for fighters on the Bellator roster as most sports shown on Sky sees money trickle down to the athletes involved in televised events which could see the fighters earn more cash along with their already agreed upon purse per fight.

This should be good news all round for fans, fighters and the broadcaster. Sure the sport will still have it’s detractors but with the juggernaut of Sky’s broadcasting platform and their reach on social media, MMA is about to enter some interesting times especially since the UFC now remains on BT Sport which may attract big numbers for both promotions across the UK and Ireland.


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