Bellator MMA probably had it the worst at the start of the pandemic. The week the pandemic was declared, they had just announced their spring and summer events days before the declaration was made by the World Health Organization. Then, on Friday the thirteenth in March, they had to pull the plug on the event booked for Mohegan Sun.
Since then, combat sports were on hold for a while before trickling back. The UFC has been leading the way for MMA with events in Jacksonville, The Apex, and Fight Island. Top Rank Boxing has what has been dubbed “the bubble” at the MGM Grand so it’s only fitting Bellator returns with a reliable space of their own that Bellator president Scott Coker is calling “The Fightsphere”.
News of their first event was coming from multiple sources before Bellator put out a press release that they would be holding Bellator 242 at the place where they had to pull the plug at the last minute, The Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The event will be headlined by bantamweights Sergio Pettis versus Ricky Bandejas and will be the first of four events at Mohegan Sun. Coker told MMA Junkie, “Once we get there, you don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t have to leave the area. Once you’re there, you’re in the fight sphere.”
Not long ago, Coker had said the plan was to use a closed studio lot in California, but with COVID 19 numbers spiking there, it makes sense to go with an arena Bellator has great history with. Coker also gave details on testing while being in the “Fight Sphere”.
“The Mohegan Sun is working with the tribe and a testing lab there at a university so we get results back quickly,” Coker said to MMA Junkie. He added, “There will be testing going on every day. We have a plan we are proud of, and we can implement to create a very safe environment for our fighters, our commissioners, our staff, and we’re ready to go.”
The events will be closed to fans and all airing on the Paramount Network.
Are you excited about Bellator’s return?