The Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion will stage thesecond-ever pay-per-view event in the company’s history later thisyear: Bellator 180, headlined by a light heavyweight clash betweenMMA legend WanderleiSilva and three-time UFC title challenger ChaelSonnen , is headed to Madison Square Garden in New York City onJune 24.
The Associated Press broke the news of Bellator’s blockbuster cardon Monday afternoon.
“We always said that when we come to New York, we’ll bring thebiggest and the best fight card we’ve ever had in the history ofthis company,” Coker told the Associated Press. “We’re putting ittogether, and our roster is robust enough that we feel like it’stime to get into the pay-per-view business, so here we go.” It willbe the first PPV event for the promotion since Coker took over theBellator reins in June 2014. Under Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney’stenure, the company endeavoured to have Bellator 106 in November2013 be its first PPV event, headlined by a bout between former UFClight heavyweight champions “Rampage” QuintonJackson and Tito Ortiz , butan injury to Ortiz led the bout to be moved to Bellator’s cabletelevision partner Spike.
The only previous event offered on PPV by the company was Bellator120, headlined by Jackson’s first bout “King Mo” MuhammedLawal and featuring Will Brooks ‘lightweight title upset of MichaelChandler , as well as the aforementioned Ortiz’s triumph overformer Bellator middleweight champ AlexanderShlemenko . Following Bellator 120, Spike President Kevin Kayconfirmed that the event drew approximately 100,000 buys, callingmedia reports of the number “dead-on accurate.”
Bellator 180’s slated headliner is not a new fight: Silva andSonnen coached opposite one another on the third season of theUFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” and were initially set tosquare 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 boutnever happened: Silva did not submit an application for a fighter’slicense in the state of Nevada and did not submit to a mandatorypre-fight drug test.
The 39-year-old Sonnen has last four of his last five bouts. Afterretiring in the wake of his first-round knockout loss to RashadEvans at UFC 167 in November 2013, “The American Gangster” cameout of inactivity in January at Bellator 170, where he was easilysubmitted by Tito Ortiz .
Silva, 40, has not fought since March 2013, where he knocked outUFC fighter-turned-commentator Brian Stann in a nine-minute barnburner. Since 2007, “The Axe Murderer” is 4-6in MMA competition.