Less than two weeks after announcing it would add international shows to its repertoire in 2016, Bellator has booked its first trip overseas.
The promotion will visit Turin, Italy, on April 16 for an event co-promoted with the Oktagon Kickboxing promotion. Bellator President Scott Coker and Oktagon Kickboxing President Carlo Di Blasi announced the plans today at a news conference in Paris.
While the event does not yet have an official name or number, it will take place at Pala Alpitour in Turin, an arena that seats more than 12,000 fans used most notably for hockey, including during the 2006 Winter Olympics, and concerts.
According to a release from the promotions, the event will include Bellator MMA fights as well as Oktagon Kickboxing bouts. The MMA portion will air in the U.S. on Bellator broadcast partner Spike.
“We are very excited to be working side-by-side with my friend Carlo Di Blasi and his team,” Coker stated. “Carlo is a great ally, and someone who I admire for all of the amazing work he has done in combat sports throughout Europe over the past 20 years. We look forward to putting on an amazing show for the Italian people, and fans tuning in from around the world when we combine our efforts on April 16 in Torino.”
“Oktagon has had incredible success building a loyal and committed fanbase throughout Europe over the past 20 years,” Di Blasi stated. “I know that these fans are going to really enjoy the exciting brand of MMA that Bellator offers when we partner with them on April 16.”
In addition, the promotion announced it has signed one of Italy’s most well-known MMA fighters, UFC veteran Alessio Sakara (17-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). “Legionarius” was released by the UFC after a four-fight skid in late 2013. The former middleweight returned to light heavyweight late last year, and in Austria earlier this fall, he picked up a first-round TKO win.
Along with the now announced trip to Italy, Bellator is planning stops in London and Tel Aviv in 2016, the promotion recently announced.
Heretofore, Bellator’s live events have been a North America-only proposition. The promotion started in 2009, and in July 2011, for Bellator 47, it made its first visit to Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. It has been to Rama four other times since then, and to Windsor, Ontario, twice. But everything else has been in the States.
The promotion has made double-digit visits to California, Oklahoma, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana.
Coker took over as president in 2014 after the ouster of Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney. After doing 11 seasons of tournament-based events, Bellator abandoned that format in 2015 to do regular cards with four “tent-pole” events planned each year.
A week from today, the promotion returns with Bellator 147 in San Jose, Calif., before taking a hiatus until Bellator 148 on Jan. 29.
For more on Bellator in Italy, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.
YO I SINCERELY CALLED THIS SHIT!!!
Good signing for a card in Italy
MMA Major Leagues: UFC, RIZIN, Bellator, KSW, WSOF, ROAD FC, ONE, Fight Nights, M-1 Global
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Crazy catching up on these threads, wonder how the card went (still haven't seen it)?
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Card was pretty fun you should definitely check it out
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