What a week it was last week for the Professional Fighter’s League (PFL). The week started out with a bang when it was announced that the promotion had closed a deal to acquire Bellator MMA which drastically boosted the talent pool of it’s roster in a single move. This massive announcement came days before the PFL held their championship event in Washington D.C.
This past Friday, six champions were crowned at the 2023 World Championships. Sensational storylines played out with the likes of Jesus Pinedo (23-6-1) and Impa Kasanganay (15-3) rising up to claim championships and establishing themselves as promotional stars. Kayla Harrison (16-1) successfully returned and Derek Brunson (24-9) had a dominant debut. It was a great way to close the week for the PFL.
Founder and Chairman Donn Davis appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour last week the day the acquisition of Bellator went down. I was incredibly impressed with Davis and really admired what his goals are for the promotion. Davis made it clear that they don’t want to be a second-rate MMA promotion. Their ultimate goal is to be a global co-leader in the MMA space alongside the juggernaut that is the UFC. Davis posted the below graphic on his LinkedIn page and said that they are poised to accomplish their goal.
PFL is Building Momentum
It’s easy to sit there and listen to Donn Davis and chuckle at the idea that the PFL could ever be on the same level of the UFC. However, is it really that crazy? We think it’s crazy because the greatest predictor of the future seems to be the past. Anyone who has ever gotten in the way or tried to compete with the UFC has ultimately folded.
Yet, there seems to be a different feel with the PFL and there’s definitely a different feel to Donn Davis and his team. One thing I got from his interview with Ariel Helwani is that he’s not afraid of taking a chance. He’s not afraid of getting laughed at or having people doubt him. He seems to be driven by that and honestly, it reminds me of Dana White although in a much different package.
The reality is that PFL has done some incredibly remarkable things in a very short amount of time. They signed Francis Ngannou, they signed Jake Paul, they’ve acquired Bellator, and they are consistently building their fanbase. Now, they have a ways to go and I’m sure anyone within the organization would tell you the same.
Getting to the level of the UFC is going to take a lot of time and effort. It’s not enough to just have an extremely talented roster which the PFL does have especially after the Bellator acquisition. It’s the full package which includes selling out bigger venues, having pristine production, and building a very loyal fanbase.
It’s going to take time and there are going to be speed bumps for the promotion. Remember, PFL is still in it’s infancy in the grand scheme of things. No, the PFL is not on the same level as the UFC today and it won’t be tomorrow. However, what they are doing is laying the foundation to make a serious run at being that co-leader that they are trying to become. Will they do it? That’s for the future to tell us, but I will say, we shouldn’t doubt the PFL and Donn Davis after what they’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time.