NEW YORK: Professional Fighters League has announced it has completed the acquisition of Bellator from Paramount Global, creating a global powerhouse in mixed martial arts and accelerating the combined company to become the industry co-leader.
PFL has acquired a significant number of top fighters through the Bellator acquisition, and its combined fighter roster is now equal in stature to UFC.
Donn Davis, PFL founder and chairman, said: “PFL is now a global powerhouse in MMA. Our Bellator acquisition turbocharges PFL’s mission to innovate the sport and become the industry co-leader.”
PFL and UFC both showcase rosters that are 30 percent comprised of fighters who are top 25 independently world-ranked in their weight-classes. In addition, PFL + Bellator now has the best roster of women’s fighters in the world.
All newly acquired Bellator fighters will become part of the PFL platform and available to compete in PFL fight franchises.
PFL will continue the Bellator brand, and Bellator will be the one-off event product from PFL.
PFL will launch a reimagined Bellator product in 2024 – the Bellator International Champions Series, which will consist of eight fight events each year hosted in major cities around the world, and each Bellator event will feature two compelling co-main fights competing for championship belts.
Bellator becomes one of five live fight franchises of the PFL alongside PFL League Season, PFL PPV Super Fights, PFL Challenger Series, and PFL International Leagues. Overall, the company can now produce a year-round calendar of live fight content with 30 premium MMA events per year.
PFL also plans to stage a landmark event in 2024 – PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions, featuring the champions of each promotion in all seven weight classes in a head-to-head competition.
Davis, and PFL CEO Peter Murray, continue to lead and operate the combined company.
Murray said: “The combined PFL and Bellator fighter rosters are second to none in MMA. We can’t wait to bring MMA fans what they have been asking for – best versus best with the PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions mega-event.”
MMA, with 650 million fans globally, has the third-largest following of all sports worldwide. It is the sports growth business of the decade with its current $1.75 billion industry revenue projected to grow 10 percent annually to $4 billion by 2032.
Bellator has served fighters and fans throughout the world for more than a decade, staging 301 major MMA fight events and successfully identifying and developing dozens of acclaimed MMA world champions. Its current roster has 46 fighters world ranked in the top 25 of their weight class per independent source Fight Matrix Rankings.
PFL is the only organization in MMA with the sports-season format, where individual fighters compete in a regular season, playoffs, and championship each year.