Bellator Back on PPV: Wanderlei Silva-Chael Sonnen Headlines Bellator 180 at MSG on June 24
MMA's signing of light heavyweight free agent Ryan Bader on
Monday might be a major news story, but it's not even the
promotion's major announcement of the day.
The Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion will stage the
second-ever pay-per-view event in the company's history later this
year: Bellator 180, headlined by a light heavyweight clash between
MMA legend Wanderlei
Silva and three-time UFC title challenger Chael
Sonnen, is headed to Madison Square Garden in New York City on
The Associated Press broke the news of Bellator's blockbuster card
on Monday afternoon.
"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 Associated Press. "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." It will
be the first PPV event for the promotion since Coker took over the
Bellator reins in June 2014. Under Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney's
tenure, the company endeavoured to have Bellator 106 in November
2013 be its first PPV event, headlined by a bout between former UFC
light heavyweight champions “Rampage” Quinton
Jackson and Tito Ortiz, but
an injury to Ortiz led the bout to be moved to Bellator's cable
television partner Spike.
The only previous event offered on PPV by the company was Bellator
120, headlined by Jackson's first bout “King Mo” Muhammed
Lawal and featuring Will Brooks'
lightweight title upset of Michael
Chandler, as well as the aforementioned Ortiz's triumph over
former Bellator middleweight champ Alexander
Shlemenko. Following Bellator 120, Spike President Kevin Kay
confirmed that the event drew approximately 100,000 buys, calling
media reports of the number “dead-on accurate.”
Bellator 180's slated headliner is not a new fight: Silva and
Sonnen coached opposite one another on the third season of the
UFC's “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” and were initially set to
square off at UFC 173 in May 2014. The bout was then moved to the
“TUF: Brazil 3” finale, then UFC 175 in July of that year. The bout
never happened: Silva did not submit an application for a fighter's
license in the state of Nevada and did not submit to a mandatory
pre-fight drug test.
The 39-year-old Sonnen has last four of his last five bouts. After
retiring in the wake of his first-round knockout loss to Rashad
Evans at UFC 167 in November 2013, “The American Gangster” came
out of inactivity in January at Bellator 170, where he was easily
submitted by Tito Ortiz.
Silva, 40, has not fought since March 2013, where he knocked out
UFC fighter-turned-commentator Brian Stann
in a nine-minute barnburner. Since 2007, “The Axe Murderer” is 4-6
in MMA competition.
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