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Thread: Professional Fighters League

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Professional Fighters League

    The Decagon. srsly? How about a Hendecagon? Turn it up to 11.

    New MMA league announces event at Daytona International Speedway
    By Scott Allen June 1 at 3:00 PM

    Daytona International Speedway will be the site of four Professional Fighters League bouts on June 30. (Pierre Ducharme/Reuters)

    After watching stock-car drivers battle it out on the tri-oval at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway later this month, fans can stick around to watch mixed martial artists go head-to-head in the Decagon. The Professional Fighters League announced Thursday that it will host four bouts at Daytona International Speedway following the completion of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on June 30.

    The two-hour event, which will be televised live on NBC Sports Network, is the first of four such events that will be held this year before the Professional Fighters League regular season begins in January.

    Jon Fitch and Brian Foster will square off in the five-round main event at Daytona, and the winner will be awarded the No. 1 seed in the 170-pound welterweight division for the inaugural PFL season. The league, which will aim to compete against UFC, Bellator and other established MMA circuits, has a unique format. Fighters will receive a regular paycheck each month and be divided into seven weight classes. The top fighters during the regular season will advance to the playoffs, where the champions of each weight class will receive $1 million. An additional $3 million will be divided among other fighters.

    The undercard for Daytona includes a trio of three-round bouts, all of which will affect the first PFL regular season rankings. Smealinho Rama and Ronny Markes will square off in a 205-pound light heavyweight bout, Joao Zeferino and Hermand Terrado will meet in a 170-pound welterweight bout and Jason High will battle Caros Fodor in a 155-pound lightweight bout. Admission to the event will be included with the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 race ticket.

    “The road to the first Professional Fighters League playoffs and post-season $1 million purse begins this January, but the winners in Daytona could have a little smoother start,” Professional Fighters League president Ray Sefo said in a release. “Recruitment for 2018 continues at a strong pace and we’re looking forward to welcoming more athletes into the Professional Fighters League in the coming weeks and months.”

    The Professional Fighters League, which is headquartered in D.C., was co-founded by Russ Ramsey, an investment banker and hedge fund manager who chaired the DC2024 Summer Olympic bid. Investors in the league include Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis and members of the Lerner family, who own the Washington Nationals.

    After Daytona, the Professional Fighters League will hold events in Everett, Wash. (July 29), Las Vegas (Oct. 14) and Washington, D.C. (Nov. 4). Details for those events have yet to be announced.

    “In this first-of-its-kind partnership, the Professional Fighters League inaugural event at Daytona will bring fans of MMA and stock car racing together — both of whom thrive on intensity and high-stakes competition,” PFL president of event production and business operations Carlos Silva said in a release.

    Last month, Bellator MMA held bouts in a cage at Charlotte Motor Speedway and USA Today’s Mike Hembree reported that “more than a thousand fans watched some or all of the bouts.” Unlike the Professional Fighters League event scheduled for Daytona, Bellator’s bouts in Charlotte were held before the race, featured amateur fighters and weren’t televised.

    Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Email him if you’ve got a tip to share. Follow @ScottSAllen
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    I forgot about this one.

    APR 16, 2018 @ 10:00 AM 1,514 The Little Black Book of Billionaire Secrets
    Professional Fighters League's MMA Format, Roster, Schedule And Free-TV Model Revealed
    Brian Mazique , CONTRIBUTOR
    Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

    Jake Shields is one of the biggest and most accomplished fighters on the PFL's roster for its inaugural season

    There's a new mixed martial arts organization set to start this summer, and it's called The Professional Fighters League (PFL).

    The PFL will follow a "true sport" format with individual fighters, which means it's not another promotion offering one-off events. The fighters will compete in a regular season, playoff and season-ending championship event for all six of the league's weight classes on New Year's Eve. There will be a total of 11 events with 126 fights scheduled.

    Perhaps what's most appealing to fans is the fact that all of the action will be free to watch.

    The season begins on June 7th from the Madison Square Garden Theater and it will be broadcast by NBCSN and Facebook Live. In fact, the entire regular season will air on NBCSN on Thursdays. The weekly event will be called "MMA Night in America," as the league stakes claim to a day of the week that is currently uninhabited by any other MMA organization.

    “We are looking forward to the start of the first ever 2018 PFL season on NBCSN,” said Jon Miller, president of NBC Sports. “MMA fans now have regularly scheduled exciting live fights on Thursday nights throughout the summer. The PFL win and advance true sports format will be game-changing for MMA."

    There will be 72 fighters spread across the six divisions hailing from 13 countries. The finale will see $10 million awarded (the largest tournament prize pool in the history of MMA) with $1 million apiece going to each of the six winners of the championships.

    Here is a rundown of all 72 fighters included in the inaugural season. Fans of mixed martial arts will immediately recognize some of the names on the list.

    Featherweight (145 lbs)

    Alexandre Almeida Bekbulat Magomedov
    Max Coga Nazareno Malegarie
    Lee Coville Lance Palmer
    Marcos Galvão Steven Siler
    Andre Harrison Juma Tuerxun
    Magomed Idrisov Timur Valiev

    Lightweight (155 lbs)

    Will Brooks Rashid Magomedov
    Luiz Firmino Ramsey Nijem
    Brian Foster Natan Schulte
    Jason High Thiago Tavares
    Yuki Kawana Chris Wade
    Islam Mamedov Robert Watley

    Welterweight (170 lbs)

    Paul Bradley Herman Terrado
    Ray Cooper Bojan Velickovic
    Pavlo Kusch Yuri Villefort
    Abubakar Nurmagomedov Jonatan Westin
    Jake Shields Magomed Magomedkerimov
    Rick Story João Zeferino

    Middleweight (185 lbs)

    Shamil Gamzatov Abus Magomedov
    Anderson Goncalves Bruno Santos
    Eddie Gordon Sadibou Sy
    Rex Harris Louis Taylor
    John Howard Gasan Umalatov
    Andre Lobato Danillo Villefort

    Light Heavyweight (205 lbs)

    Jamie Abdallah Vinny Magalhaes
    Bazigit Ataev Ronny Markes
    Jason Butcher Sean O’Connell
    Rakim Cleveland Smealinho Rama
    Maxim Grishin Dan Spohn
    Brandon Halsey Rashid Yusupov

    Heavyweight (265 lbs)

    Caio Alencar Valdrin Istrefi
    Francimar Barroso Shawn Jordan
    Josh Copeland Kyle Mike
    Daniel Gallemore Jack May
    Denis Goltsov Jared Rosholt
    Jake Heun Nick Rossborough

    “PFL is the new league for the new era of MMA, the fastest-growing sport in the world,” said Peter Murray, CEO of PFL. “We are confident that our innovative win-and-advance format will excite MMA fans and draw new fans to the sport. We are honored to provide these incredibly skilled athletes the opportunity to compete on a major global stage. Fans will be able to follow their favorite fighters on their season-long journey fighting for the championship crown and their share of the $10 million prize pool.”

    The top 8 in each weight class from the regular season will make the playoffs. Wins will register 3 points, stoppage victories in the first round will add an additional 3 points for a total of six. Second and third-round finishes will add 2 and 1 point, respectively to the win total.

    All regular-season fights will be three rounds. The playoff fights will use the win-or-go-home format. All competitors will have to win two fights in one evening during the playoff round to advance to the championship event.

    The first being a two-round bout and the second being a three-round fight. The championship bouts will be five-rounders.

    “The most talented fighters from around the world will proudly fight under the PFL banner,” said Carlos Silva, President of Event Production and Business Operations. “In our format, every single punch and every single round matter, as fighters compete for a shot at the PFL championship. We can’t wait to see all the action in the regular season, which stars emerge post-season in October, and who will share in the biggest MMA prize pool ever on New Year’s Eve.”

    Beyond the NBCSN broadcasts, PFL action will also be available to international fans on, and the NBC Sports app. There will also be up six hours of action streamed to international fans for free on Facebook Live including a live 30-minute pre and post-event show. In the US, the first three hours will be viewable on Facebook prior to NBCSN's presentation of the main bouts.

    Here is a look at the entire schedule of events and venues that were available at the time of publication.

    Thursday, June 7: Madison Square Garden Theater, New York, NY
    Thursday, June 21: Chicago Theater, Chicago, IL
    Thursday, July 5: GWU Smith Center, Washington, D.C.
    Thursday, July 19: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
    Thursday, August 2: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
    Thursday, August 16: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
    Thursday, August 30: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
    Friday, October 5: Playoff Event (Venue and City TBA)
    Saturday, October 13: Playoff Event (Venue and City TBA)
    Saturday, October 20: Playoff Event (Venue and City TBA)
    Monday, December 31: Championship Event (Venue and City TBA)

    Tickets for the first event on June 7 go on sale Wednesday, April 18 at the league's official website. Stay tuned for information including a deeper look at the team behind PFL, the business model as well as some expert analysis on this attempted disruptor in the MMA market
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    Anyone here tuned into this? I've yet to watch any of their fights.

    Professional Fighters League comes to D.C. with new MMA format and promise of big payoff
    By Kendra Andrews
    July 4

    Rick Story leaves the Octagon after his second-round TKO loss to Donald Cerrone in their welterweight bout at the UFC 202 event at T-Mobile Arena on August 20, 2016 in Las Vegas. (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

    Rick Story is banking on a career revival arising from a failed gamble.

    The mixed martial arts fighter was an established veteran in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in August 2016, when, he said, he turned down a contract extension with the promoter. He planned to secure a better deal by winning his next fight. The plan backfired with his first career knockout loss, to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 202.

    After two years away, Story has returned to professional MMA fighting, just not with the UFC. This time, he’s fighting in the newly formed Professional Fighters League, a relaunched version of the former World Series of Fighting with a format familiar to followers of professional team sports. The PFL is made up of 72 fighters divided into six weight classes, and its format consists of a regular season, playoffs and a season-ending championship on New Year’s Eve, resulting in 11 total events and 126 fights. The six weight-class champions will each receive $1 million.

    The third stop of the seven-card regular season will be Thursday evening at Charles E. Smith Center on the campus of George Washington University.

    “I just knew that an opportunity would become available where I would probably get paid my worth, and this opportunity that the PFL is giving is it,” Story said. “This was the opportunity I was waiting for, so I just jumped on it.”

    Each regular season fight is scheduled for three rounds, with three points awarded for a win and one for a draw. Winners receive additional points for stoppages — three in the first round, two in the second and one in the third, for a maximum six points possible from each fight. The top eight in points from each weight class will advance from the regular season to the playoffs.

    The playoff fights will use a win-or-go-home format, and each fighter will have to win two matches in one night to advance to the championship. The first fight will consist of two rounds, and the second will have three. The championship fight will be a five-rounder.

    The finale will see roughly $10 million awarded, the largest tournament prize pool in the history of MMA. In addition to the $1 million awarded to each champion, quarterfinalists will earn $50,000, semifinalists $100,000 and runners-up $200,000.

    “In the sport itself, I think, maybe a few more than 10 fighters make more than $1 million per fight,” said Kayla Harrison, a two-time Olympic champion in judo who made her MMA debut last month on a PFL card. “So just the fact that you’re giving opportunities to fighters to make that kind of money is great. Obviously, I also love the tournament aspect of it. You don’t get a title shot based on how much trash you talk, how good you look or how many followers you have. You create your own destiny. If you want money, you’ve got to win. That’s the American Dream right there.”

    The league includes six weight classes for men but none for women, so Harrison is not technically included in the tournament. She’ll probably fight on another card as early as next month and is hoping next year’s PFL schedule includes a tournament for women at 145 pounds.

    The investors of the PFL give the sport Washington roots. Donn Davis, co-founder of Revolution, a D.C.-based venture capital firm, and Russ Ramsey, founder, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management, are co-founders of the league. Pete Murray, formerly with Under Armour and the NFL, is chief executive; and Carlos Silva, a D.C. native, is the league president.

    Other investors include Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis; Fred Schaufeld, part-owner of the Capitals, Wizards and Nationals; and Glenn Youngkin, co-CEO of The Carlyle Group.

    “We really wanted to create a system for the fighters from the regular season where they get paid very similarly to how they have in the past, with both show and win money into a playoff structure where you get paid based on how far you go,” Silva said. “There’s no doubt about it, it gives the fighters more motivation. … We’ve got 72 elite fighters in the league for 2018, and I think every single one of them think they will be the $1 million winner in their weight class. I think they are all approaching it that way, and I think that adds a super-big level of excitement.”

    Story, a welterweight with a 19-9 career record who will make his PFL debut at Smith Center on Thursday against Yuri Villefort (11-5) of Brazil, said the format and payment strategy were two of the more attractive aspects of the PFL.

    “It’s not the sole motivating factor. I love to just go out there and compete,” Story said of the potential payout. “But at the same time, knowing that you can decide your own fate is comforting because you go out and put it all on the line and have nothing holding you back because you already know what the reward is.”

    Rick Maese contributed.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly omitted Russ Ramsey as a co-founder of the Professional Fighters League.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Claressa Shields

    Boxing champion Claressa Shields signs contract to join world of mixed martial arts
    Updated 8:50 AM; Today 8:50 AM

    Claressa Shields has won world boxing championships in three divisions. (Jake May | May

    By Brendan Savage |
    FLINT – Claressa Shields is crossing over to the world of mixed martial arts.

    Shields, who has won three world boxing titles faster than anyone in history – male or female – has signed a contract to join the Professional Fighters League, the organization announced in a press release Tuesday Dec. 1.

    PFL said Shields “will look to enter the 2022 PFL Season after a series of special attraction fights in 2021.”

    Shields, a two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist from Flint, has a 10-0-0 record with two knockouts as a professional but hasn’t fought since last January because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Shields has dubbed herself the Greatest Woman Of All-Time and has become the face of women’s boxing.

    “I want to thank Professional Fighters League and (CEO) Peter Murray for believing in me and giving me this amazing opportunity,” Shields said in a prepared statement. “What drew me to the PFL is that it is definitely a fighter-first organization, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.

    “Since turning pro it has been my goal to be the GWOAT and to be a two-sport star like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. I want to go where no man or woman has gone and hold championships in both boxing and MMA at the same time.

    “I can’t wait to get to work.”

    Signing with PFL doesn’t mean Shields’ boxing days are over.

    “Claressa will continue to box professionally as she embarks on her multi-year PFL MMA career,” Murray said. “Fans will get to experience her professional MMA debut in 2021, which can be seen across the United States via ESPN, as well as in 160 countries all over the world,”

    “She has transcended sports and has become a global icon, and an inspiration to aspiring young athletes. Claressa is an incredible human being, a bona-fide star athlete, and has an amazing story.”

    The 2021 PFL season begins April 23 and will continue April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17 and June 25. There will be a regular season and playoffs leading up to a championship bout with a $1 million top prize.

    Bouts will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

    Shields was scheduled to fight Canada’s Marie-Eve Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs) for the undisputed super welterweight championship May 9 in Flint when the coronavirus forced its postponement.

    Her promoter, Dmitriy Salita, said the fight vs. Dicaire is still in the works and will take place once a TV date is finalized. Shields has become a headliner on Showtime boxing cards.

    In her only fight this year, Shields recorded a unanimous decision over Croatia’s Ivana Habazin Jan.10 to win the undisputed junior middleweight championship. She previously won championships in the middleweight and super middleweight divisions.
    Boxing vs. MMA
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Last post here was 2 years ago?

    At least they got some WaPo coverage...

    The UFC is synonymous with mixed martial arts. Has a new challenger emerged?

    By Glynn A. Hill
    November 22, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. EST

    The PFL will host its championship event Friday in Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. (Cooper Neill/PFL)

    From the beginning, Professional Fighters League founder Donn Davis felt his upstart mixed martial arts league could compete with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, despite the latter’s 24-year head start and a brand so entrenched that fans sometimes mistakenly call any MMA entity “UFC.”
    Davis has a long-term plan to shape the PFL into a legitimate competitor, but in the meantime, in the lead-up to its championship event this week in New York City, he is enjoying PFL’s recent growth. Fueled this year by an ESPN broadcast extension and a spate of new fighter signings, the league is thought to have distinguished itself among a crowded field of mixed martial arts challengers. While it remains in the UFC’s shadow, the league’s recent moves have elevated it into a promising hopeful in the sport.
    “PFL is not perfect, but all things considered, they’re going in such a fast, positive direction, that if you call them the No. 2 [promotion] at the moment, it wouldn’t necessarily be incorrect,” said Brian Campbell, a combat sports analyst for CBS Sports and Showtime.
    Originally created as the World Series of Fighting in 2012, the promotion was relaunched with the backing of D.C. area sports and business executives as the PFL in 2017 and debuted the following year. Its inaugural roster featured several contractual holdovers including Kayla Harrison, a two-time gold medal-winning Olympic judoka who has evolved into its biggest star.
    By 2021, the PFL had gained traction through a broadcast deal with ESPN and the signing of older stars who made their names in the UFC and the California-based Bellator, most notably former UFC champion Anthony Pettis. It also signed Claressa Shields, helping facilitate the decorated boxing champion’s bid to become a two-sport star.
    Over the past year, the PFL has continued to make strides. It renewed the ESPN deal in January, aiding the league’s 31 percent increase in linear television viewership this season over the last. The PFL said its total viewership per event in 2022 is 344,000. Last month it announced plans to expand into Europe next year, and it intends to plant roots in India or Latin America as part of a broader effort to create the “Champions League” of MMA, as Davis puts it, referencing European soccer’s esteemed international tournament.
    That, plus the recent addition of more recognizable fighters, has propelled the PFL to a point where Davis believes it can coexist alongside the UFC as an industry leader within the next several years.
    “They have a very professional presentation and they are starting to build those under-the-radar names that you might not have heard of,” Campbell said of the PFL. “They’re in a very good spot right now, and I think they’ve started to make shrewd signings to try to continue to build upon that. For where PFL is at compared to 2019, it feels like night and day.”
    Those recent signings include former UFC title challenger Thiago Santos (22-11 in MMA, age 38), Marlon Moraes (23-10-1, age 34), and Aspen Ladd (9-3, age 27), a skilled fighter who was cut by the UFC in September after she missed three weight cuts over a five-year period. The PFL also signed Biaggio Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s grandson and a former UNLV running back looking to transition to MMA.
    Shane Burgos (15-3) is viewed as PFL’s most impressive addition, less because he is the only one to leave the UFC on a winning streak, and more because the 31-year-old Bronx native is a popular fighter in his prime.
    Burgos fought his way through lesser promotions to earn his 2016 passage into the UFC, where he became one of its most exciting featherweight fighters despite not winning a title. The UFC gave Burgos the sport’s biggest platform, and his aggressive style brought wins, fans and fight bonuses in what is arguably its deepest division. Burgos said he enjoyed his time with the company, but new responsibilities reshuffled his priorities.
    “When I first started in UFC, I thought I was making good money. I had a little one bedroom apartment. I basically had no bills. I had low car payments,” said Burgos, whose PFL contract also includes a commentary role. “Now I have real bills, kids to take care of and a wife. I put my life on the line, my health on the line, every single time I fight, and with two kids now, I mean, it’s got to be worth it.
    “My last couple [UFC] fights combined — with win bonuses — would equal around what I’m making for one [PFL] fight.”
    Concerns over UFC fighter compensation aren’t new, and the departure of some of the promotion’s aged stars who have found more lucrative fighting opportunities elsewhere has opened the door for renewed criticism. Despite those concerns, UFC fighters such as Sean O’Malley and Israel Adesanya, the promotion’s budding and established stars, seem unlikely defectors — though Pettis and Burgos said dozens of UFC fighters contacted them with questions about compensation after their PFL deals were announced.
    “Everyone was wondering what I was getting paid, but that wasn’t the first question,” said Burgos, who did not disclose the full details of his contract. “They were like, ‘Why did the UFC let you go?’ It wasn’t necessarily that they let me go. It’s that they couldn’t match the deal I was getting from the PFL.”
    PFL fighters compete across six divisions in a regular season schedule that runs from April through November this season, with winners advancing to a win-or-go-home playoff tournament that concludes Friday. Each tournament winner is crowned PFL champion for that weight class and given $1 million. The seasonal format is a departure from the arbitrary matchmaking that determines fight cards and title opportunities across combat sports. It also offers athletes a more predictable schedule to plan their lives around; albeit at the expense of shorter rest periods between fights and greater stakes for injuries with a relatively tight schedule.
    Those adjustments also extend into the cage, which Pettis learned the hard way during his 2021 PFL debut.
    Pettis won the UFC lightweight title in 2013, and the following year he was voted onto the cover of the Wheaties cereal box. Despite less consistent results in subsequent years, Pettis ended his UFC career on a two-fight winning streak and held victories over some of the promotion’s best. Four months later, he suffered an upset loss in his PFL debut and eventually missed the playoffs.
    “I got banged up, man, so I couldn’t even spar in training for the next fight,” Pettis said of the debut loss. “The second season, I was more technical. Jiu jitsu is the way to go in those first fights so you don’t mess your body up.”
    Pettis appeared poised for redemption after he won his 2022 season opener by first round submission in May, but he lost his next two fights, including an August playoff defeat.
    Where some might see those struggles as an indictment of Pettis or the UFC roster’s talent, Campbell views it as a sign of quality within the PFL’s ever-growing roster.
    “ONE Championship did the same thing by signing Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez,” said Campbell, referencing the Singaporean MMA promotion that signed two former UFC champions. “You’re bringing in the names that are older and established, but the reality is that you’re bringing them in so people can see the young talent that you’re building behind them.”
    If the PFL continues to cultivate its young talent and finds a way to entice UFC fighters in their primes, Campbell envisions a distant future where the PFL might challenge for the UFC’s top spot. In the meantime, the fledgling league has at least earned his attention.
    “I was somebody who almost didn’t even want to see the PFL three years ago,” Campbell said. “I watched the results, I watched the highlights, but I’m like, ‘Do we need more second or third-rate MMA?’ But they’ve completely turned it around on me. From the investors, to the product on the screen, to the rule-set, to the innovation, to the TV deal, they have a fantastic foundation to make a run at it.”
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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