Max to Stream Bellator Champion Series MMA Championship

The Professional Fighters League and Warner Bros. Discovery announced an exclusive U.S. media rights agreement March 19 for the new Bellator Champion Series, a mixed martial arts championship, debuting March 22.

The new series will stream exclusively on Max and be available on all plans. The series includes eight mega events staged in cities across the globe, featuring world-ranked fighters and two title fights during each event.
 
The Bellator Champions Series kicks off at SSE Arenain Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 22 at 1 p.m. ET and is followed by Bellator Champions Series Paris on May 17 at the Accor Arena. With World Championships on the line, each event will highlight the best fighters from each region with locally relevant matchups. The full slate of 2024 Bellator Champions Series events are as follows (timing will be announced closer to event dates):

  • March 22, 1 p.m. ET — Bellator Champions Series Belfast – The SSE Arena, Belfast
  • May 17 — Bellator Champions Series Paris – Accor Arena
  • June 22 — Bellator Champions Series Dublin – 3Arena
  • Sept. 7 — Bellator Champions Series San Diego – Pechanga Arena
  • Sept. 14 — Bellator Champions Series London – OVO Wembley
  • Oct. 12 — Bellator Champions Series Chicago – Wintrust Arena
  • Nov. 16 — Bellator Champions Series Paris – ADIDAS Arena
  • Dec. 31 — Bellator Champions Series – TBD

 

Additionally, TNT Sports will televise a slate of Bellator content throughout the year on the “TNT Sports on truTV” programming block. Broadcast details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The first event fight card includes:

  • Main Event: Corey Anderson v. Karl Moore
    Bellator Light Heavyweight Title Fight (205 lb)
    Corey Anderson, one of the best light heavyweights of the last decade, gets his third crack at becoming a world champion as he takes on Belfast’s very own Karl Moore. Anderson has won against five different MMA world champions. Moore is riding a four-fight win streak and is fighting to become Bellator’s first Irish Champion in front of his home crowd.
  • Co-Main Event: Patricio Pitbull v. Jeremy Kennedy
    Bellator Featherweight Title Fight (145 lb)
    Bellator G.O.A.T. Patricio Pitbull defends his featherweight title against the division’s #1 title contender, ferocious Jeremy Kennedy. Pitbull is the only Bellator 4X World Champion and holds the records for most fights (29), wins (23), and finishes (13) in Bellator history. Kennedy has won six of his last seven fights against top competition to earn this title shot.
  • Middleweight No. 1 Contender Bout: Fabian Edwards v. Aaron Jeffery
    Fabian “The Assassin” Edwards, the brother of UFC Welterweight Champ Leon Edwards, looks to rebound from a close Championship loss to undefeated Johnny Eblen last time out. Edwards will have to go through hard-hitting Canadian Aaron Jeffery to re-establish himself worthy of another shot at the Bellator Middleweight Championship Belt.

 

In addition to the eight global events, Max subscribers will also have access to two new all-access docuseries, both debuting March 21 ahead of the first event March 22. Fans can go behind-the-scenes and delve deeper into the fighter’s lives as they push beyond their limits to mentally prepare and train for their match ups. In “Fight Camp Confidential,” viewers will witness a journey into the lives of Bellator’s most elite fighters as the show travels to the camps of Bellator champions and title contenders, giving an up-close and personal look at their training regimes. “Fight Week” is an all-access look at the lives of championship fighters as they prepare to defend their belts, showing the intensity of training mixed with lighthearted moments that make up fight week.​

Additional programming available to stream on Max will include a selection from Bellator’s full library featuring 300-plus events with 3,000 fights, pre-fight, post-fight, and original programming, including legends from the sport such as Kimbo Slice, “Rampage” Jackson, Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko, and the full fight history of Bellator homegrown talent such as AJ McKee, Johnny Eblen, Aaron Pico, Michael Chandler, and Michael “Venom” Page.

“Following our historic acquisition of Bellator, Professional Fighters League is proud to partner with Warner Bros. Discovery for the highly anticipated Bellator Champions Series to stream exclusively on Max for fans across the United States, at no extra cost to subscribers, when the global franchise launches on March 22,” Peter Murray, CEO of the Professional Fighters League, said in a statement. “We’re excited for audiences to tune into Bellator’s new home on Max for eight Bellator Champions Series events in 2024 taking place in iconic cities around the globe, featuring world title fights and the biggest stars in combat sports. There’s an incredible demand for premium, year-round MMA content from major media platforms and this is the latest milestone in PFL’s ambition to bring the sport’s best to audiences around the world.”

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“We are thrilled to partner with Professional Fighters League to introduce a new live sport to the U.S. Warner Bros. Discovery content portfolio,” Josh Walker, chief financial and strategy officer for Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming, said in a statement. “The addition of Bellator Champions Series offers our viewers an opportunity to experience highly anticipated mixed martial arts, nicely complementing our robust slate of can’t miss programming.”

Invicta Fighting Championships Inks Deal With Fox Sports Mexico

Invicta Fighting Championships, a subsidiary of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, has announced a five-year partnership with Fox Sports Mexico — broadcasting every MMA Invicta FC event live and in Spanish to its viewers across the country, beginning with Invicta FC 49: Delboni vs. DeCoursey on Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The upcoming Invicta FC 49 event airs live from Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, Okla., giving Fox Sports Mexico’s audience a front-row seat as the trailblazing promotion presents a night of world-class all-female action featuring top Mexican athletes Montserrat “The Monster” Rendon and Nadia Vera. Rendon is putting her undefeated streak on the line in a Bantamweight bout vs. “The Quiet Storm” Brittney Cloudy, and Vera vs. Shauna Bannon is a Strawweight battle of the unbeatens.

Invicta FC 49 is headlined by Atomweight Champion Jéssica Delboni from Brazil in her first title defense against “Lionheart” Jillian DeCoursey, and also includes Finland’s Maiju Suotama vs. Brazilian knockout specialist Ketlen “Esquentadinha” Souza in the co-main event; as well as Liz “The Titan” Tracy vs. Valesca “Tina Black” Machado in a Strawweight showdown; and Ultimate Fighter alumnus Helen “Iansã” Peralta vs. UFC veteran Poliana Botelho.

“FOX Sports Mexico is dedicated to showcasing the absolute best sports coverage from across the globe, making Invicta FC the perfect complement to our strong lineup of international offerings,” Cristina Ruiz de Velasco, Fox Sports GM, said in a statement. “Combat sports have always been popular with our audience, and we are proud to offer every live event from the world’s premier all-female MMA promotion through this interesting new partnership. Invicta FC is a true gamechanger in the industry, we cannot wait to share all they have in Mexico and excited for the upcoming Invicta FC 49 airing on Sept. 28.”

“Mexico has long-boasted a large and passionate fanbase of knowledgeable combat sports enthusiasts, and we could not be more pleased to bring our groundbreaking brand of all-female MMA action to them through this landmark partnership with FOX Sports Mexico,” Invicta founder and president Shannon Knapp said in a statement. “Throughout our history, we have proudly showcased top Mexican athletes such as Alexa Grasso, Irene Aldana, Montserrat Ruiz, Karina Rodriguez and Pearl Gonzalez, and Invicta FC 49 continues that legacy with bouts featuring undefeated talents Montserrat Rendon and Nadia Vera. This is just the beginning of what we believe will be a long and successful partnership, and we look forward to presenting our unparalleled athletes, exciting matchups and innovative open scoring on FOX Sports Mexico for many years to come.”

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In addition to airing live on Fox Sports Mexico, Invicta FC 49 will be broadcast on AXS TV in the United States; Fight Network in Canada; NENT Viaplay, Nova TV and Match TV across Europe; Star Times in Africa; and globally on Invicta’s official YouTube Channel and Facebook page, kicking off at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

MMA Drama ‘Warrior’ Headed to 4K UHD Steelbook Aug. 30 at Best Buy

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc combo pack of Lionsgate’s 2011 MMA-centered family drama Warrior is being re-released Aug. 30 in Steelbook packaging exclusively at Best Buy. 

The film follows Tommy Riordan, an ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past. He returns home and enlists his father, a recovering alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for a mixed martial arts tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. Tommy’s estranged brother Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to provide for his family as a public school teacher, also enters the competition. Set on a collision course with each other, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart.

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The film stars Joel Edgerton (The Gift, The Great Gatsby), Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Jennifer Morrison (TV’s “House,” TV’s “Once Upon a Time”), Frank Grillo (The Grey, The Purge: Anarchy) and Nick Nolte (Affliction, The Prince of Tides).

Special features include audio commentary with writer-director Gavin O’Connor, cowriter Anthony Tambakis, editor John Gilroy and actor Joel Edgerton; making-of documentaries; a gag reel; and a deleted scene with optional commentary.

Chinese Mixed Martial Arts Film ‘Crazy Fist’ Due on Hi-Yah! Streaming Service Aug. 6, Disc and Digital Sept. 14 From Well Go

The Chinese boxing-meets-mixed martial arts drama Crazy Fist will debut exclusively on the martial arts streaming service Hi-Yah! on Aug. 6, before hitting digital, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 14 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

First time feature film director Guo Qing (who also appears in the film) directs Dragon Blade-alums Steve Yoo and Wang Wei, plus Collin Chou (Matrix II, III), Xiaoming Huang (Ip Man 2), Wei Zhao (Mulan: Rise of a Warrior) and retired professional bodybuilder Kai Greene (“Stranger Things”).

In the film, after an opponent dies mid-match, a prominent MMA champion swore never to fight again, instead retiring to run his family’s international business. However, when his best friend dies under suspicious circumstances during another tournament, he has no choice but to step back in the ring to help uncover the truth.

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In addition to its original language track in Mandarin, Crazy Fist also includes an English dub.

Mixed Martial Arts Story ‘Notorious Nick’ Coming to Digital Rental Aug. 6, DVD and Digital Purchase Aug. 17

The underdog mixed martial arts story Notorious Nick will be available in select theaters and for digital rental Aug. 6, and on DVD and for digital purchase Aug. 17 from Lionsgate.

Cody Christian (TV’s “All American” and “Teen Wolf”) stars in the underdog tale based on a true story. In the film, even though he was born with a partial left arm, Nick Newell (Christian) dreams of being a fighter. After wrestling in high school, Nick becomes a fierce competitor when his best friend Abi introduces him to mixed martial arts. Suddenly, a tragedy provides Nick with an unexpected opportunity.

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From a producer of BloodsportKickboxer and Death Warrant, the film also stars Barry Livingston, Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle) and Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects).

Lionsgate Releasing MMA Actioner ‘Born a Champion’ in January

Lionsgate will release the inspirational mixed martial arts action film Born a Champion through digital retailers, in select theaters and on demand Jan. 22, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 26.

Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints) stars as a former Marine who loses a blood-soaked jujitsu match in Dubai to superstar Blaine. But years later, an online video proves that Blaine cheated, and the world demands a rematch, motivating the aging underdog to get back into shape to claim revenge.

The cast also includes Dennis Quaid and Katrina Bowden (“30 Rock”).

Blu-ray and DVD extras include a director’s commentary and two scenes with alternate music scores.

‘Invincible Dragon’ Due on Disc and Digital Oct. 6 From Well Go

The Chinese action-adventure Invincible Dragon will debut on digital, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 6 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Featuring action superstar Max Zhang (Ip Man 3Master Z: Ip Man Legacy), the film is directed by Fruit Chan (The Midnight After) with a supporting cast that includes champion UFC fighter Anderson Silva (Never SurrenderTapped Out), Kevin Cheng (Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy) and Stephy Tang (The Empty Hands).

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In the film, when a brilliant but trigger-happy detective (Zhang) is outsmarted by a serial killer, he pays a high price for his momentary lapse in judgment. Robbed of both his fiancée and his job, he soon spirals out of control and goes back to what he knows best: fighting. Unbeknownst to him, a serendipitous reunion with an old rival (Silva) may be the key to unlocking the truth about his fiancée’s disappearance — and to apprehending the killer.

Mixed Martial Arts League Goes OTT

Upstart mixed martial arts fight organization, the Professional Fighters League, April 30 announced a technology agreement to bring over-the-top video, including in-depth athlete stories, streaming video and 360-degree comprehensive coverage across all digital platforms, including mobile devices.

Launched in 2012 as the World Series of Fighting, the PFL is using backend video technology from ViewLift to power its digital platforms and bring MMA action, behind-the-scenes footage and statistics and metrics to fans worldwide.

“We are committed to presenting mixed martial arts in innovative ways that capture the full spectrum of talent, athleticism and action that PFL athletes bring to the cage, CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “We will create a direct connection between PFL, its fighters and its partners and millions of loyal MMA fans.”

Professional Fighters League events and fights will be streamed live and on demand on pflmma.com and the PFL apps, broadcast live in primetime on NBC Sports Network, and streamed live globally on Facebook Watch. The PFL 2018 Season debuts June 7 from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden and consists of seven regular season events, three “win or go home” playoff events, and concludes with the $10 million PFL championship event on Dec. 31.

“We love the intersection of sports and technology,” said Rick Allen, CEO of ViewLift.

Mixed martial arts fans will be able to watch all PFL regular season, playoff, and championship fights—over 66 hours of live action—for free. In the United States, all of the PFL regular season events will air live on Thursday in primetime exclusively on NBCSN, and stream live on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, pflmma.com and the PFL apps. All regular season events will have encore telecasts on NBCSN later the same night.

Outside the U.S., Facebook will stream up to six hours of free, live coverage for each event. In the U.S., fans can watch the first three hours of coverage of each event on Facebook and continue to watch the rest of the card on NBCSN. Prior to the bell, fans can learn more about the PFL, the fighter roster and the personal stories of PFL fighters at PFLmma.com.