Bellator received its highest TV ratings since July of this year, thanks to the retirement fight of King Mo Lawal.
More than 314,000 viewers tuned in to Friday’s show from Thackerville, Okla.
Lawal, 38, a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, has been Bellator’s signature star for the past seven years. He announced his retirement after losing to Jiri Prochazka on April 21 in Japan. That fight was to determine the first Rizin light heavyweight champion. In 2015 Lawal had knocked out Prochzaka to win the Rizin heavyweight Grand Prix tournament on New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena.
His fight on Friday against Andrew Kapel was supposed to be his last fight.
Lawal has been one of the top light heavyweights in the MMA until a horrifying staph infection led to multiple knee surgeries and threatened his career. However, he made an unsuccessful comeback which didn’t do much for his career since the surgeries had definitely taken a toll on his game.
Bellator ruled the roost with the highest viewership as opposed to WWE Smackdown (2,610,000 viewers), NBA on ESPN (825,000 viewers), College Football on ESPN 2 (787,000) and College Football on FS 1 (648,000 viewers).