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Scott Coker says Bellator won't do monthly PPVs, but Spike executive says more will happen

As it turns out, Bellator 120 was not a one-off when it came to the Viacom-owned promotion’s pay-per-view plans.

And as the promotion gets ready for “Bellator: NYC,” broadcast partner Spike said fans can expect to see more PPV events from the consensus No. 2 MMA promotion.

“This is a new revenue stream for us, and it will allow us in time to continue to build up Bellator and put on these amazing fights,” said Jon Slusser, Spike’s senior VP of sports and multi-platform programming at today’s press conference for the June 24 event at Madison Square Garden in New York. “So I don’t know if we’re talking about the schedule yet, but there will be consistent and regular pay-per-views moving forward as we enter this new line of business with all our partners. We’re very enthusiastic to help.”

Although it’s not exactly a new business, the promoter and broadcast partner are keen on making a big splash this summer with its second pay-per-view offering, which features a light heavyweight headliner between rivals Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) and Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and a re-booked co-feature between former PRIDE heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA 0-0 BMMA) and Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA). The five-bout pay-per-view card follows the Spike-televised “Bellator 180” earlier the same night.

Much the way it did Bellator 120, Spike will push “Bellator: NYC” hard on the cable network, creating shoulder programming to build excitement for the event, Slusser said. Bellator President Scott Coker said fans shouldn’t expect the promotion to entirely remake its current business model, which relies on producing solid ratings on cable TV. The June 24 event is merely an opportune time to make the leap.

“We’re not going to do monthly pay-per-views just to do pay-per-views,” Coker said. “We’re going to build up fights more like the boxing model, and when the timing is right, we’re going to do the big, big fights. So when we can put a big event together, like the one we have on June 24, then we’ll do it as a pay-per-view.”

Coker has resisted the call to pay-per-view since he took over for Bjorn Rebney at the helm of Bellator in 2014. Coker repeatedly called the promotion a TV product and emphasized “tentpole” events – featuring old PPV draws – to entice casual fans to watch a crop of up-and-comers. Critics have repeatedly attacked the matchmaking strategy, but Bellator twice managed to draw over 2 million viewers to broadcasts.

Bellator 120 reportedly drew 100,000 pay-per-view buys, a figure that likely would leave the promotion in the red given the high-dollar talent it’s employing for the event. “Bellator: NYC” is priced higher at $49.95, although the figure may vary among cable providers. There’s no competition from the industry-leading UFC on June 24, so the promotion will have a clear window to gauge the demand for another PPV product.

For more on “Bellator NYC” and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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