Inside PFL’s rise as no.2 global market leader in MMA

While the UFC continues to reign over the landscape of mixed martial arts worldwide, the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has exploded into the scene and now finds itself right behind the industry leader after just three years.

In an interview with, PFL founder Donn Davis said that the league had established itself as the number-two MMA company globally on multiple factors, including fighter roster, worldwide audience, distribution, and growth.

“So I think what you’re seeing now, by all metrics, is the PFL is the number-two MMA company worldwide. In terms of fighter roster, PFL is number two. For a worldwide audience, PFL is number two. In terms of worldwide distribution, PFL is number two, and in terms of growth, PFL is number two,” Davis said.

Top MMA Promotions - PFL

Season format

But what pushed the PFL out into the front of the pack, alongside the UFC?

Founded in 2017, the league has already been able to put on two massively-successful seasons. Now, they are gearing up for the third season, which kicks off in April.

Notice how the PFL’s year is called a season?

That’s because the league follows a tournament-style format, which is unique in the world of MMA.

The league uses a regular season, playoffs, and finals format, which means the fighters will need to win to advance. At the end of the season, a world champion will be crowned for each weight division, and the winners are awarded one million dollars.

Stacked roster

Making that tournament format all the more exciting for the fans to watch is the stacked roster of fighters that the PFL boasts.

Each of the league’s six weight divisions features veterans and up-and-coming talent from across the globe. The PFL is home to many of the MMA world’s top stars, including PFL Women’s Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison, two-time PFL Featherweight Champion Lance Palmer, two-time PFL Lightweight Champion Natan Schulte, and many others.

In 2021, the league will have an influx of world championship talent led by Fabricio Werdum, Anthony Pettis, Rory MacDonald, and three-division boxing world champion Claressa Shields, who will be making her mixed martial arts debut.

Top-notch management

While the PFL indeed features an all-star roster of fighters, they also have the number one executive team in sports.

Founder Donn Davis, who was also behind Revolution LLC, has brought together some of the top minds in media, sports, and digital to lead the league to the top.

Leading the charge is PFL CEO Peter Murray, who helped sign some of the biggest names in sports during his time with Under Armour. Executive Producer George Greenberg has over 40 years of experience and is coming off as an Executive Vice President for Fox Sports. President Ray Sefo was the founder of the World Series of Fighting and is a combat sports legend.

Those big names are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the PFL’s executive management roster.

Overwhelming support

The PFL is also backed by a world-class team of investors, including Swan & Legend Venture Partners and Matterhorn Private Equity, and Ted Leonsis, David Blitzer, Mark Lerner, Kevin Hart, Mark Burnett, and Tony Robbins. The league has also managed to secure sponsorships with AB InBev,, The Marines, and many others.

The PFL can be seen in the United States via ESPN and in an additional 160 more countries worldwide via various platforms and sports networks.

With all these considered, it’s no surprise that the PFL is already at the top of the MMA mountain, alongside the UFC. With another big year in store in 2021, there’s no telling the heights that the fastest growing sports league in the world can reach.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Donn Davis’ Midas touch turns PFL into gold standard in MMA

Professional Fighters League co-founder and chairman Donn Davis has put together an amazing group of investors that helped fast track its rise in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Among those investors include Swan & Legend Venture Partners and Matterhorn Private Equity and the likes of NBA’s Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, NHL’s New Jersey Devils co-managing partner and minority owner David Blitzer, MLB’s Washington Capitals owner Mark Lerner, actor Kevin Hart, MGM Television chief Mark Burnett, and American author, life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

The PFL has risen to the top two MMA leagues in the world, along with the UFC, thanks to its exclusive regular-season tournament-style league format, as well as its revolutionary use of tech to enhance fan and viewer experience with the use of their proprietary SmartCage technology.

Currently preparing for its 2021 season next year, the PFL is looking forward to massive growth through global expansion, including signing talents from across the world and potentially taking the product to international soil in the future.

Davis has been a huge part of the PFL’s success.

And it’s not hard to imagine how it came to be because Davis’ track record of success speaks for itself.

Davis, a Miami University graduate and University of Michigan Law School alum, began his career as an associate at the Sidley Austin law firm, before becoming Chief Legal Counsel for the Chicago Cubs.

In 1998, he earned what many believe as his big break, joining America online and helping take the American web portal to the next level.

Then in 2005, Davis, along with Steve Case, founded Revolution Growth, the venture that was responsible for putting brands such as Scopely, ZipCar, DraftKings, SportRadar, and BigCommerce on the map.

With his unbelievable foresight, Davis invested and became a co-owner of Team Liquid in 2016. It’s the most decorated franchise in eSports today.

Davis’ Midas touch has carried over to PFL.