Most of you will be aware that there has been a lot of movement in the UK and Irish MMA scene over the summer. As stated previously on these pages, Bellator has made a major investment in the domestic scene by signing around 25 British and Irish fighters to long-term deals. More may follow.
Cage Warriors, the traditionally UFC friendly promotion have also stepped up to the Plate. In just the past few days they have announced the signing of 11 fighters to long-term deals. This is a significant investment by the Cage Warriors franchise considering they have nowhere near the resources of the VIACOM backed Bellator.
The Cage Warriors product is a good one though and the standard of their fighters in Mixed Martial Arts is not in question. Conor McGregor and over 70 other MMA fighters have found their route into the UFC via Cage Warriors.
The third main Player in this domestic arena is BAMMA and they have been very quiet in the face of all of these recent announcements. It is well known that BAMMA and Bellator, have put on many joint promotions together. They certainly seem to work very well together on the British and Irish scene.
When Bellator announced the 20 plus fighters that they have signed, I was expecting a mention of how the relationship with BAMMA would work going into the future. Many of the newly signed fighters are former BAMMA faces. The signing of them cannot have been done without the prior knowledge of BAMMA surely?
The BAMMA website is a curious sight at the moment. As far as i can tell, Only the December fight in Dublin is promoted on their site currently. Is this a sign that they are working with Bellator to design a set of joint events?
One noteworthy piece of information is that Jude Samuel is a recent addition to the Bellator Team and he would be fairly familiar with the behind the scenes running of BAMMA and the roster of fighters and former talent. However it isn’t clear from his Linkedin Profile if he is also still involved with BAMMA. Lots of Questions but not many answers at this point.
The list of fighters signed are also a signifier I think. There is a mix of Champs like Terry Brazier along with talent that have the ability to put bums on seats like Richard Kiely. In this example, both fight in the same weight class. So match ups like that would definitely get the public’s attention from the get-go.
In the final analysis there are two questions to ask really and they are diametrically opposed.
- Are Bellator bypassing the historic relationship with BAMMA altogether?
- Could Bellator and BAMMA be hatching plans to work out a deal similar to the UFC and Invicta?
A deal where all BAMMA events are streamed to Bellator ’s global audience. The Invicta deal with the UFC enabled Invicta fights to be shown on the UFC Fight Pass subscription. It also incorporated all of the historic back catalogues of Invicta events to be uploaded and available to view on the UFC Fightpass package.
Everything is conjecture on my part at this point. All I can say is that both BAMMA fighters and the BAMMA promotion are very quiet at the moment and responses to enquiries are met with silence. This is only understandable if there is a major announcement coming. Expect the fireworks in the UK and Irish MMA scene to continue and at the end of the day that can only be good news for MMA Fighters and Fans.