November 20, (THEWILL) – The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has acquired rival mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion Bellator, the companies announced on Monday. The surprise deal unites two leading organisations behind Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Unique for its seasonal format, PFL awards $1 million to each of its 6 division champions. With Bellator’s acquisition, PFL says 30% of its fighters now rank top 25 in their weight classes.
PFL plans to continue Bellator’s brand, launching the “Bellator International Champions Series” in 2024. This will feature annual cards in major cities with titles on the line.
Experts say the alliance provides options for fighters seeking alternatives to UFC. Bellator has cultivated stars like Vadim Nemkov and A.J. McKee. PFL recently signed ex-UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou.
While not expected to overtake UFC, the PFL-Bellator deal represents the fiercest challenge yet to the MMA giant’s dominance. Cross-promotional bouts between the two rosters are bound to excite fans worldwide but it is not clear if that is on the cards.