Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva to headline Bellator 180 PPV event at Madison Square Garden

Bellator is going big this summer, returning to pay-per-view for the long-awaited grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.
Bellator President Scott Coker today told the AP that Sonnen (29-14-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) will headline Bellator 180, which takes place June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York.The event marks the second time the Viacom-owned promotion has ventured into pay-per-view. Bellator 120 took place in May 2014 and featured a grudge match between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. Spike President Kevin Kay told MMAjunkie the fight card drew 100,000 buys.
Coker previously said in multiple interviews that the promotion intended to stay on cable TV, but today’s announcement reveals a different direction.“We always said that when we come to New York, we’ll bring the biggest and the best fight card we’ve ever had in the history of this company,” Coker told the AP. “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.”The grudge match is once again front and center for Bellator’s next “tentpole event.” Sonnen and Silva share a heated rivalry that stretches back to their time as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3.” Scheduled for a traditional season-ending fight at UFC 175, Silva was forced out when he evaded a drug test, and Sonnen was then scratched when he failed a drug test.The Nevada State Athletic Commission subsequently brought both fighters’ careers to a halt. Sonnen received a two-year suspension for the banned drugs anastrozole and clomiphene, a regimen he said he used to wean himself off testosterone-replacement therapy, which the commission previously gave him permission to use before the controversial treatment was banned.Silva, meanwhile, received a staggering lifetime ban before a judge struck down the ruling and ordered the commission to rehear his case. He waited through several months of procedural delays before he received a new three-year sentence.Sonnen and Silva both retired after their issues, but Silva subsequently signed with Bellator after receiving a contractual release from the UFC. Sonnen then un-retired this past fall to join the Bellator roster, making a showdown inevitable.After a blowout loss to Tito Ortiz in the UFC Hall of Famer’s retirement fight, Sonnen targeted Silva as his next bout. But even beforehand, he said he and the Brazilian could lock horns.
Now, the two finally get the chance. According to the AP, several other fights will be added soon to the card, including “a handful of its newly signed free agents.”As MMAjunkie earlier reported, former UFC standout and ranked light heavyweight Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) inked a deal with Bellator, and ranked welterweight Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) also signed, making them logical fits for the summer show in the Big Apple.For more on Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.




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