The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has announced it has bought rival MMA promotion Bellator in what is considered a monumental deal in the mixed martial arts world.
The PFL, a US-based organisation, did not disclose the price of the deal. The previous owners of Bellator Paramount will retain a minority stake in the newly merged company.
Despite buying Bellator, the PFL has announced that the Bellator brand will continue, with a PFL champion versus Bellator champions fight night targeted to take place in 2024.
The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) have long held a monopoly on mixed martial arts, but PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, which many consider to be the number 2 organisation in the sport, could see the UFC be provided with competition in the MMA market.
Donn Davis, PFL’s founder and chairman, stated that his promotion “is now a global powerhouse in MMA.”
"Our Bellator acquisition turbocharges PFL's mission to innovate the sport and become the industry co-leader."
The PFL was founded in 2017 and, unlike other MMA organisations, has attempted to innovate the sport with seasonal championships. This involves point-based systems before end-of-season playoffs with a prize of one million dollars at the end of each season for the winner.
The acquisition of Bellator has followed a year in which the PFL managed to capture the signature of several prominent stars in the combat sports world, including former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and rising boxing star Jake Paul.
The PFL plans to start a new fight series on their platform. The Bellator Champion. The series will consist of eight fight nights each year, hosted in some of the major cities across the globe.
The deal to take Bellator's roster of fighters means that the PFL now has 30% of the world’s top 25 independently ranked fighters across all weight classes. The PFL will now be hoping to compete with the UFC.
"The combined PFL and Bellator fighter rosters are second to none in MMA," said co-CEO Peter Murray.
"We can't wait to bring MMA fans what they have been asking for a best vs best with the PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions Mega-Event."
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