Bellator XCVI took place on June 19, 2013 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The event was distributed live in prime time by Spike TV. It marked the season debut of the 2013 summer series. Bellator 96 featured the opening round of the 2013 Summer Series Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight tournaments.
This event served as the lead in for the debut of Bellator's new reality TV series, Fight Master: Bellator MMA.