Bellator MMA will finally head to the Big Apple.
The “American Gangster” Chael Sonnen will face Wanderlei Silva at Bellator 180 on June 24 at Madison Square Garden. This is the second time the promotion will attempt a pay-per-view card. The Associated Press made the announcement Monday afternoon.
“We always said that when we come to New York,” Bellator President Scott Coke told the AP. “We’ll bring the biggest and the best fight card we’ve ever had in the history of this company. 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.”
This is the promotions first visit to New York City. This is the third professional MMA card to take place at MSG. The first being the historic UFC 205 in November under rival promotion, the UFC. The World Series of Fighting closed out 2016 with a New Year’s Eve card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) made his Bellator debut in January at Bellator 170 after coming out of a nearly three-year retirement. In his debut, Sonnen lost to a controversial first-round submission against long-time rival Tito Ortiz.
Silva (35-12-1 (1), 0-0 BMMA) will make his Bellator debut at the inaugural New York card for the promotion. Silva’s last bout was in the UFC octagon against Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann in 2013.
This will be the first time Sonnen and Silva will face each other in their professional careers.
The last time they attempted to join the pay-per-view business was in May of 2014. After PPV buys did not meet expectations, they continued their Spike TV deal.
“I’ve watched how hard Bellator has worked and how they’ve stuck through it,” Sonnen told the AP. “I think they belong on pay-per-view. After a I joined up, I was stunned that Bellator was packing houses from the East Coast to the West Coast. They’ve got a great product, and it just seemed like the next logical step was going into pay-per-view.”
Ticket information is TBA for the event.