Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva set for June 24 in New York City

For the first time in company history, Bellator MMA will head to New York City on June 24, led by a grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.

Bellator president Scott Coker announced the matchup on Monday via a report from The Associated Press. The event, Bellator 180, will air on pay-per-view and take place inside Madison Square Garden.

"I think [Bellator 180] will be the most exciting fight card in MMA this year so far," Coker told AP. "I mean, who knows what's going to happen before the end of the year, but I think this is going to be the biggest fight card put together by any company so far in the pay-per-view business, and we feel really good about it."

This will mark just the second pay-per-view event in Bellator history. Bellator is owned by media conglomerate Viacom and airs regularly on Spike TV.

The first Bellator PPV event took place in May 2014, one month before Coker assumed his role as Bellator president. The event was headlined by Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal.

The Bellator brand has not yet broken into New York since professional mixed martial arts was legalized there in 2016. The UFC held a major PPV event at Madison Square Garden in November, which was headlined by its current lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

The main event will feature a matchup that was supposed to happen in 2014. The fight fell through for several reasons, but Sonnen made no secret he was still interested in Silva when he signed with Bellator last year.

Sonnen (28-15-1) is coming off a first-round submission loss to Tito Ortiz in January. The defeat marked his promotional debut, and was his first appearance since serving a two-year drug suspension that began in 2014.

The two-time UFC middleweight title challenger is 1-4 in his past five contests.

Silva (35-12-1) has not fought since May 2013. The 40-year-old Brazilian was also suspended in 2014 after he refused to take a random drug test in Nevada.

A former titleholder in Pride Fighting Championships, Silva secured his release from the UFC in 2016 and subsequently signed with Bellator MMA. He was scheduled to fight for Japanese promotion Rizin FF in December, but withdrew due to injury.

Bellator officials have not yet announced any other bouts for the June event.