By Edward Carbajal

Follow @Carbazel


Photo: Ed Carbajal/Frontproof Media

Bellator MMA’s first event for the New Year pulled 1.85 million viewers according to a press release from Spike TV. That’s a high bar set for the sport in 2017 as it was mentioned to be the most watched mixed martial arts (MMA) event of the year so far. The landscape of MMA has some new territory to capitalize on in New York and Bellator is the only big promotion left to make their move in the territory.

Spike TV President Kevin Kay knows the sport has an opportunity to create big numbers with an event there and along with Scott Coker plans on bringing the promotion to New York soon according to a recent interview in Crain’s New York Business. The numbers from Bellator 170 could be a big motivator to move things along with the right fighter in the main event.

“The first time you enter a marketplace, you want to go in with preferably a local fighter, someone who can put fans in seats. And you want your biggest stars and a packed card. ”
— Kevin Kay, President Spike TV

He is not wrong if you look at what the UFC did in November with UFC 205 and WSOF 34/WSOF NYC that also pulled high ratings. So what fighters can pull in fight fans at Barclay’s or Madison Square Garden that fight for Bellator?

Liam McGeary is from the UK but he trains in New York, he could be marketed as one of the top tier fighters on a New York card. Phil Davis who won the title from McGeary in November of 2016 is from Pennsylvania, and certainly that’s close enough to bring in fans from his home state. Eddie Alvarez did it for UFC 205, so why not Davis?

The marketing team at Spike can figure something out and should figure it out soon while the fire of MMA is hot. Like Kay said in the interview when asked why New York matters more than Las Vegas; “The awareness it creates. It does wonders for the brand. We’re №2, and we want to be №1. You have to be in the biggest market in the world to be №1, and that’s New York City.”

Who would you like to see fight on a Bellator card in New York?

Spike TV prez says Viacom’s MMA brand can go toe-to-toe with UFC|Crain’s New York Business

Edward Carbajal is a contributing writer for MMA at Frontproof Media and a Verified Creator at You can follow Edward on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website Check out his YouTube channel.

Originally published on FrontproofMedia