Home MMA NewsLatest News PFL’s Donn Davis Outlines Advantages Over UFC, Citing Better Pay and Greater Autonomy for Fighters

PFL’s Donn Davis Outlines Advantages Over UFC, Citing Better Pay and Greater Autonomy for Fighters

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PFL is laying down some audacious plans as it rolls into 2024, underscored by a colossal $100 million investment from SRJ Sports Investments, a company backed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.

This investment not only makes SRJ a minority stakeholder in PFL but also significantly boosts the organization’s resources. This financial shot in the arm will help PFL extend its reach into the Middle East and attract top-tier fighters. It’s a major move to stay neck and neck with UFC, the current behemoth of MMA promotions.

PFL CEO Donn Davis is optimistic about his organization’s trajectory, particularly with the influx of funds from SRJ and the company’s impending move into pay-per-view. Davis maintains that these developments solidify PFL’s position as the undisputed runner-up in the world of MMA, and he’s not ruling out the possibility of overtaking UFC anytime soon.

Davis made his views known on the Front Office Sports podcast, where he stressed the “new era of opportunity” that PFL has brought to the MMA universe. Before PFL arrived on the scene, fighters were essentially locked into UFC as their only high-end option. Davis likens the previous situation to being in a one-horse town without a car. Now, with PFL in the mix, fighters have more avenues—and metaphorical cars—to explore.

According to Davis, there are two standout perks that make PFL superior to UFC. First, he claims that PFL pays its fighters more generously. Second, the tournament format championed by PFL provides fighters more control over their destiny, rather than being “tethered to someone else’s whims.”

Davis is quick to acknowledge UFC’s merits but insists that PFL is not just an imitation. He emphasized that the PFL approach is centered on being “fighter-first,” a philosophy he believes will pay dividends in the long run. Notably, Davis cited Francis Ngannou as the latest high-profile fighter to make the leap from UFC to PFL.

As part of its tie-up with SRJ Sports Investments, PFL has also pledged to kickstart a regional promotion focused on the Middle East and North Africa. This complements other regional PFL brands, including PFL Africa and PFL Europe. Davis sees this as another domain where PFL excels beyond the UFC.

While UFC’s Dana White may cherry-pick fighters, Davis notes that PFL uses a more systematic and global scouting system, assessing approximately 10,000 fighters worldwide. Davis likens their scouting reach to the multiple levels of baseball talent—ranging from single-A to the majors.

Rumors are also swirling about a possible acquisition of Bellator MMA by PFL, which would substantially bolster their fighter roster. Although Davis didn’t confirm any moves regarding Bellator, he hinted that the acquisition of a large talent pool could intrigue PFL.

The latest $100 million investment puts to bed any questions regarding PFL’s financial capability to face off against UFC. As Davis confidently puts it, they’ve now got the resources to give the “big dog” a run for its money.

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