The scene was set for fight fans looking forward in high anticipation for Bellator 206, with a strong card throughout and a main event that promised a great deal of action in the cage. With the undercard featuring fights between Chuck Campbell and Joseph Ramirez and the main card showcasing such top-tier fighters as Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, it’s little wonder that the event drew a large viewership and a great deal of attention for fans of combat sports.
The main event — a mixed-weight fight between middleweight champion Gerard Mousasi and welterweight champion Rory MacDonald — was heavily promoted by Bellator and was the subject of much discussion on MMA forums and on social media platforms such as Reddit. According to the Telegraph, however, those hyped-up fans of cage fighting that happened to live in the United Kingdom were about to face down some major disappointment — said letdown coming in the ironic form of a cartoon pig.
As the witching hours turned to early morning after Bellator 206 — with it’s full card offering up a whopping 13 fights according to MMA Fighting — had run over predicted time, fans watching the fisticuffs and submissions in the UK were treated to a jarring shift of programming as children’s cartoon Peppa Pig co-opted the previous broadcast.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) September 30, 2018
The reasoning for the switch was supposed simple. Due to OFCOM — or the Office of Communications, UK’s governmental regulatory body surrounding broadcast media — stipulations, no content rated age 15 plus can be shown from 6 a.m. onwards. This means that, just as the clock struck six in the UK — and with both Mousasi and MacDonald about the enter the cage — the Bellator 206 broadcast was immediately and unceremoniously interrupted by previously scheduled programming.
In this case? Peppa Pig.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) September 30, 2018
Fan reaction to the porcine takeover of the main event — that many had stayed awake all night to watch — was, perhaps predictably, outraged. Addressing the mix-up in a post-event press conference, Bellator CEO Scott Coker ran a bit of polite damage control in order to stymie negative reaction — from the press and from paying customers alike.
“Believe me there were emails going back and forth and they were not friendly. That’s definitely a hiccup but we will definitely fix that going forward… Honestly, we thought we would be way off the air before the three-hour mark. It just didn’t happen and we ran over and Peppa Pig took over, that’s what happened… When they switched over, there were a lot of texts going back and forth and they all were not friendly. We were trying to fix it, we thought it was a technical glitch. I can promise you that the next time, it will not happen — we’ll keep it to five fights instead of six like we normally do.”
"When you stay up all night for a huge MMA fight and see Peppa Pig instead" https://t.co/qf4WHgZHjH
— Limmy: TIX ON SALE NOW (@DaftLimmy) September 30, 2018
Not everyone was angered by the mistake, however. Some Twitter users have taken to the popular social media service to display their apparent amusement over the entire affair. A sense of humor is definitely required after a long night of snacks and snoozing in wait for a main event that never comes — instead being replaced by a high-contrast pastel pig.