Viacom’s purchase of Bellator continues to take the once fledgling pro mixed martial arts promotion to new heights. Viacom’s popular UK television channel VIVA will begin airing live Bellator fights on Wednesday, June 19, as part of the MMA promotion’s Summer Series tournament.

The news was announced by Bellator MMA president & CEO Bjorn Rebney and Spike TV president Kevin Kay during a conference call announcing the signing of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Wednesday (we have the VIDEO).

Bellator MMA 96 will feature opening rounds of the Summer heavyweight and light heavyweight tournaments with King Mo vs. Seth Petruzelli, Jacob Noe vs. Renato Sobral, Rich Hale vs. Vinicius Queiroz, and Vitaly Minakov vs. Ron Sparks.

The VIVA-televised Bellator MMA 96 main card also features the Bellator debut of controversial UFC veteran War Machine as he takes on BJJ black belt Blas Avena in a welterweight match-up.

VIVA will continue broadcasting Bellator’s Summer Series events in July and August, and then in September VIVA will telecast Bellator MMA’s 9th season.

With the addition of the UK market, Bellator’s global reach has widened to include a total of 116 countries and territories. Available in every one of the UK’s 26 million TV households, 50% of VIVA’s demographic is made up of 16 to 34-year-olds. And one in four of that age group in the U.K. – 3.7 million viewers – tune in to VIVA each month.

Kay called the deal with VIVA a “game changer in the UK” and said it “gives Bellator the widest and deepest distribution of any MMA promotion in the marketplace.”

“We are thrilled to finally bring the pure excitement of Bellator MMA to the legions of dedicated and knowledgeable mixed martial arts fans in the UK,” stated Rebney. “Our long awaited expansion into the UK, one of the world’s MMA hot beds further illustrates our continued ascension in the MMA world.”

Bellator MMA recently announced signings of UK fighters Martin Stapleton, Rob Sinclair and Paul Sass and have promised that moving forward they will continue to aggressively pursue the acquisition of top British MMA talent.

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