MMA promotion Bellator and DAZN, an over-the-top streaming service, reached an agreement Tuesday on a multiyear contract worth nine figures.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN reported details of the deal, which will showcase seven fight cards per year.
Juan Delgado, the chief executive of Perform Media, the parent company of DAZN, explained the service is attempting to "penetrate the market" in the United States while awaiting a chance for other rights deals to become available, per Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
"We feel this is a transformational deal for Bellator and DAZN," Delgado said. "This gives Bellator the opportunity to truly challenge UFC, and there's a great opportunity to put on interesting fights and go after talent, whether it be UFC talent or to develop Bellator's existing talent."
DAZN is based in the United Kingdom and has held major sports rights in Europe and Japan since its 2016 launch. It became available in Canada last year. The Bellator deal will air exclusively in the U.S., according to Jesse Holland of MMA Mania.
"The interest is still there and we believe you'll be better off as a consumer with this as fight sports are growing as a category, and therefore should be offered in a subscription acquisition vehicle for a service like DAZN," Delgado said, per Pugmire. "Hence, we've put $1 billion behind our boxing venture and a nine-figure investment behind Bellator."
Delgado added the company expects to air at least one live boxing or MMA card per week from mid-September through December to highlight its new rights deals.
The Bellator deal will kick off Sept. 29 with a projected card featuring a middleweight title fight between Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald as well as a heavyweight bout between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Wanderlei Silva.