Bellator Executive Mike Kogan: Showtime’s Failure was the Beginning of the End

Bellator found a home with Showtime in 2021, but was ultimately offloaded to the PFL after less than three years, and PFL co-founder Donn Davis has tentative plans to keep Bellator as a unique brand under the PFL umbrella, focusing on international one-off events and plans for a PFL vs. Bellator champions mega-event while maintaining the companies separately, along with working to ensure Bellator fighters can find a comfortable position within PFL.

Bellator found a long-term broadcast home on Showtime in early 2021, after bouncing around various networks and platforms. However, less than three years later, Paramount Global offloaded Bellator to the PFL in a significant industry-shaking deal this past week. The former Bellator executive Mike Kogan believes that once the promotion landed within Showtime’s purview, its fate was sealed, and its future began to decline.

Bellator’s fate had deteriorated by landing within Showtime’s purview, as the network was shut down just three months after Bellator’s arrival. Moving from networks with tens of millions of household subscribers down to a paywall with only 25 million subscribers was a significant setback. PFL co-founder Donn Davis plans to keep Bellator running as a separate brand under the PFL umbrella, focusing on international one-off events.

Looking back on the events of the past months, Kogan admitted Bellator’s final shows were a “bittersweet” conclusion to the promotion’s journey. Kogan worked for many years as a behind-the-scenes driver within the company, contributing with everything from matchmaking and negotiations to talent scouting and long-term planning. Kogan is hopeful for Bellator’s future under the PFL’s leadership.

Kogan’s own fate — and the fate of other Bellator senior leadership — is less certain. Kogan said that he’s meeting this week with Davis and PFL CEO Peter Murray to determine his future. He expressed interest in staying aboard and believes he has plenty to offer as the two rosters work toward integrating with one another. Kogan expressed doubt that longtime Bellator president Scott Coker will join him in the transition but acknowledged that ultimately the decision isn’t his to make. As for the more than 200 fighters Bellator still had under contract, he believes all of them will be able to find a comfortable position in PFL for the short term.


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