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The Professional Fighters League (PFL), formerly the World Series of Fighting (WSOF), is a mixed martial arts league. It is the first professional MMA organization to present MMA in a format in which individual athletes compete in a regular season, “win-or-go-home” post-season, and championship.[3] PFL debuted its inaugural season on June 7, 2018 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. In 2018, each champion in the six weight classes won a championship prize of $1 million each.[4]

Professional Fighters League
Private
IndustryMixed martial arts promotion
Founded2012
Headquarters,
Key people
  • Peter Murray (CEO)[1]
    Ray Sefo (President, Fighter Ops)
    George Greenberg (EVP, Exec Producer)[2]
    Mark Nolan (EVP, Global Partnerships and Media Sales)
    Russ Ramsey (Co-Founder)
    Donn Davis (Co-Founder)
    Mark Leschly (Co-Founder)
OwnerMMAX Investors
Websitehttp://www.pflmma.com

Predecessor Promotion HistoryEdit

The World Series of Fighting (WSOF) formed in 2012, having signed a broadcast deal with the NBC Sports Network. Soon after the promotion's event announcement, WSOF confirmed Bas Rutten and Michael Schiavello would be commentators for the debut event.[5] In September 2013, commentator Kenny Rice, reporter Joey Varner, and ring announcer Jazz Securo were acquired and debuted. Todd Harris, who was under contract with NBC Sports, was the main play-by-play announcer. WSOF held 35 events.[6]

International PromotionsEdit

In 2013, WSOF started the WSOF Global Championship brand that featured events in Japan, China, Philippines, and other destinations.[7]

New OwnershipEdit

In 2017, MMAX Investment Partners, a group of Reston, Virginia investors, acquired a controlling stake in the WSOF.[8] In April of the same year, they renamed the organization the Professional Fighters League.

Fight Format and Point SystemEdit

PFL uses the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The League uses a unique ten-sided (decagon) cage for their events.[9]

The eight fighters with the most points in each weight class advance will advance to the playoff rounds. The point system consists of outcome-based scoring and bonuses for an early win. Under the outcome-based scoring system, the winner of a fight receives three points and the loser receives zero points. If the fight ends in a draw, both fighters will receive one point. The bonus for winning a fight in the first, second, or third round is three points, two points, and one point, respectively. For example, if a fighter wins a fight in the first round, the fighter will receive six total points.

Win in any round automatically = 3 points

Bonus points:

Round 1 = 3 points

Round 2 = 2 points

Round 3 = 1 point [10]

2019 PFL seasonEdit

Season FormatEdit

The PFL 2019 regular season consisted of six weight classes and six events spanning from May to August. Playoffs consisted of three events and the season culminates with the Championship Event on New Year's Eve 2019.

2019 EventsEdit

  • Thursday, May 9: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
  • Thursday, May 23: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
  • Thursday, June 6: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
  • Thursday, July 11: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Thursday, July 25: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Thursday, August 8: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Friday, October 11: Playoff Event: TBA
  • Playoff Event: October/TBA
  • Playoff Event: October/TBA
  • Tuesday, December 31: Championship Event: TBA

RosterEdit

As of June 2019, The PFL second season roster includes 68 fighters in six weight classes, including a new Women's Lightweight division.[11][12]

Broadcast distributionEdit

Regular season events and playoff matches air on ESPN+ and ESPN2. The Championship Event on New Year's Eve will air exclusively on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. In Canada, PFL events are aired exclusively on TSN.[13][14]

Broadcast TeamEdit

PFL's broadcast team for 2019 live events and pre- and post-event shows includes 2018 PFL Light Heavyweight champion Sean O'Conell, Randy Couture, Caroline Pearce and former UFC Lightweight Yves Edwards, with former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia as in-cage announcer.[15][16]

2018 PFL inaugural seasonEdit

Season FormatEdit

The PFL 2018 season had 72 fighters in six weight-classes, competing in seven regular season events on Thursday nights in June, July, and August. The top eight in each weight-class faced off in bracket-style, single elimination playoff fights on Saturday nights in October. The PFL 2018 season concluded on December 31, 2018 with six championship bouts back-to-back with a $10 million prize pool.[17]

2018 EventsEdit

In 2018, the seven regular season events (referred to as PFL1-PFL7) were held at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Chicago Theatre, GWU Smith Center, Nassau Coliseum, and Ocean Resort Casino.[18] The playoff events was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the Long Beach Arena, and the St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena. The championship event was held at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

PFL1-7 events of the regular season, playoff events and the championship event were scheduled as follows:[19]

  • Thursday, June 7: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Thursday, June 21: Chicago Theater, Chicago, IL
  • Thursday, July 5: GWU Smith Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Thursday, July 19: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
  • Thursday, August 2: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY
  • Thursday, August 16: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Thursday, August 30: Ocean Resort Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Friday, October 5: Playoff Event, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
  • Saturday, October 13: Playoff Event, Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA
  • Saturday, October 20: Playoff Event, St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington D.C.
  • Monday, December 31: Championship Event, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

RosterEdit

As on June 18, 2018, the PFL roster included 72 fighters in six weight classes.[20]

Broadcast distributionEdit

On January 29, 2018, the League announced it had reached a multi-platform distribution deal for the inaugural 2018 season with NBC Sports Group and Facebook.[21] Within the United States, NBC Sports Group established a live Thursday night PFL franchise, presenting seven regular-season live events in prime time exclusively on NBCSN beginning June 7, 2018, through the end of August 2018. Events televised by NBCSN also streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. All regular season events had encore telecasts on NBCSN later the same night. Outside the U.S., Facebook streamed up to six hours of live coverage for each event. Facebook also opened each event with a live 30-minute pre-fight show and closed each with a live 30-minute post-fight show. In the U.S., fans were able to watch the first three hours of undercard coverage of each event on Facebook prior to NBCSN’s presentation of the main bouts.[22]

In February 2019, news surfaced that PFL had reached a deal with ESPN and TSN for the second season's broadcasting rights in the United States and Canada, respectively.[23]

Broadcast TeamEdit

PFL’s 2018 broadcast team for live events and pre- and post-event shows included Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Yves Edwards, Caroline Pearce and Todd Harris. Todd Harris provided play-by-play while Randy Couture provided color commentary. Bas Rutten and Caroline Pearce conducted pre- and post-fight interviews and Yves Edwards offered video breakdowns and fight analysis.[24]

PFL Standings - by weight classEdit

[25][26][27][28]

In all weight categories, the top eight fighters in each weight class qualified for the 2018 league playoff. As of 2019, the top eight fighters in each men's weight class, and the top four fighters in the Women’s Lightweight division, advance to the playoffs.

FeatherweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
Steven Siler 1 12 2-0-0 31-17-0 N/A
Lance Palmer 2 9 2-0-0 14-3-0
Andre Harrison 3 6 2-0-0 19-0-0
Timur Valiev 4 6 2-0-0 14-2-0
Alexandre Almeida 5 6 1-1-0 19-8-0
Max Coga 6 4 1-1-0 20-5-0
Nazareno Malegarie 7 3 1-1-0 29-5-0
Marcos Galvao 8 0 0-1-0 18-10-1
Magomed Idrisov 9 0 0-1-0 8-2-0
Lee Coville 10 0 0-1-0 4-2-0
Juma Tuerxun 11 0 0-2-0 20-8-1
Bekbulat Magomedov 12 0 0-2-0 19-3-0

LightweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
Robert Watley 1 5 1-0-0 11-1-0 N/A
Brian Foster 2 4 1-0-0 28-10-0
Will Brooks 3 3 1-0-0 19-4-0
Natan Schulte 4 3 1-0-0 12-3-0
Islam Mamedov 5 3 1-0-0 15-1-10
Efrain Escudero 6 0 1-0-0 30-13-0
Luiz Firmino 7 0 0-1-0 20-9-0
Chris Wade 8 0 0-1-0 12-4-0
Jason High 9 0 0-1-0 21-7-0
Ramsey Nijem 10 0 0-1-0 9-7-09
Thiago Tavares 11 0 0-1-0 22-7-1
Yuki Kawana 12 0 0-1-0 14-2-5

WelterweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
João Zeferino 1 6 1-0-0 22-9-0 N/A
Magomed Kerimov 2 6 1-0-0 19-5-0
Pavlo Kusch 3 5 1-0-0 23-5-0
Ray Cooper III 4 5 2-0-0 15-5-0
Bojan Velickovic 5 5 1-0-0 16-6-1
Rick Story 6 3 1-0-0 20-9-0
Yuri Villefort 7 0 0-1-0 11-6-0
Jonatan Westin 8 0 0-1-0 10-3-0
Jake Shields 9 0 0-1-0 32-10-1
Abubakar

Nurmagomedov

10 0 0-1-0 14-2-0
Herman Terrado 11 0 0-1-0 15-4-1
Paul Bradley 12 0 0-1-0 23-9-0

MiddleweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
Abus Magomedov 1 6 1-0-0 19-3-0 N/A
John Howard 2 5 1-0-0 26-13-0
Louis Taylor 3 4 1-0-0 15-4-0
Shamil Gamzatov 4 3 1-0-0 12-0-0
Bruno Santos 5 3 1-0-0 17-2-0
Rex Harris 6 3 1-0-0 11-3-0
Andre Lobato 7 0 0-1-0 24-8-0
Sadibou Sy 8 0 0-1-0 6-3-0
Eddie Gordon 9 0 0-1-0 8-5-0
Anderson Goncalves 10 0 0-1-0 11-2-0
Gasan Umalatov 11 0 0-1-0 17-5-2
Danillo Villefort 12 0 0-1-0 15-6-0

Light-HeavyweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
Vinny Magalhaes 1 6 1-0-0 15-9-0 N/A
Maxim Grishin 2 6 1-0-0 27-7-0
Sean O'Conell 3 5 1-0-0 18-9-0
Brandon Halsey 4 4 1-0-0 11-3-0
Rakim Cleveland 5 4 1-0-0 19-9-1
Dan Spohn 6 4 1-0-0 17-5-0
Bozigit Ataev 7 0 0-1-0 17-2-0
Rashid Yusupov 8 0 0-1-0 9-2-0
Smealinho Rama 9 0 0-1-0 10-4-0
Ronny Markes 10 0 0-1-0 18-6-0
Jason Butcher 11 0 0-1-0 11-3-0
Jamie Abdallah 12 0 0-1-0 8-3-0

HeavyweightEdit

FIGHTER RANKING POINTS PFL RECORD MMA RECORD NEXT FIGHT
Francimar Barroso 1 12 2-0-0 21-7-0 N/A
Kelvin Tiller 2 11 2-0-0 10-1-0
Philipe Lins 3 8 2-0-0 11-3-0
Jack May 4 6 1-1-0 10-4-0
Alex Nicholson 5 5 1-1-0 12-6-0
Valdrin Istrefi 6 5 1-1-0 13-2-0
Jared Rosholt 7 3 1-1-0 16-5-0
Josh Copeland 8 3 1-1-0 17-5-0
Jake Heun 9 0 0-1-0 11-7-0
Caio Alencar 10 0 0-1-0 11-3-0
Shawn Jordan 11 0 0-1-0 19-9-0
Daniel Gallemore 12 0 0-2-0 7-6-0

RecordsEdit

Record Fighter Number
Youngest champion Justin Gaethje 25 years, 65 days
Oldest champion Jon Fitch 38 years, 40 days
Most finishes Justin Gaethje 9
Most knockouts Justin Gaethje 9
Most submissions David Branch 4
Most decision wins Jon Fitch
David Branch
5
Most bouts Marlon Moraes 11
Most wins in title bouts Justin Gaethje
Marlon Moraes
6
Most title bouts Justin Gaethje
Marlon Moraes
6
Most consecutive title defenses Justin Gaethje
Marlon Moraes
5
Longest winning streak Marlon Moraes 11
Fastest knockout Ray Cooper III 0:18
Fastest submission Louis Taylor 0:29

Final WSOF championsEdit

Division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses
Heavyweight 265 lb
(120 kg; 18.9 st)
Vacant
April 25, 2018
Light Heavyweight 205 lb
(93 kg; 14.6 st)
Vacant
February 6, 2017
Middleweight 185 lb
(84 kg; 13.2 st)
Vacant
February 6, 2017
Welterweight 170 lb
(77 kg; 12 st)
Vacant
March 1, 2018
Lightweight 155 lb
(70 kg; 11.1 st)
Vacant
April 27, 2017
Featherweight 145 lb
(66 kg; 10.4 st)
Andre Harrison WSOF 35
March 18, 2017
1
Bantamweight 135 lb
(61 kg; 9.6 st)
Bekbulat Magomedov WSOF 35
March 18, 2017
0
Flyweight 125 lb
(56.7 kg; 8.9 st)
Vacant
January 5, 2017

ChampionsEdit

2018 World ChampionsEdit

Division Upper weight limit Champion Date
Heavyweight 265 lb (120 kg; 18.9 st)   Philipe Lins December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)
Light Heavyweight 205 lb (93 kg; 14.6 st)   Sean O'Connell December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)
Middleweight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)   Louis Taylor December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)
Welterweight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)   Magomed Magomedkerimov December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)
Lightweight 155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)   Natan Schulte December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)
Featherweight 145 lb (66 kg; 10.5 st)   Lance Palmer December 31, 2018 (PFL 11)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "MMA Fighting: PFL signs distribution deal with NBC Sports, Facebook". mmafighting.com. January 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "Variety: MMA Upstart Professional Fighters League Hires Fox Sports Veteran George Greenberg (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.com. July 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2018-03-29). "Professional Fighters League To Partner With MGM Television Group For New Programming". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  4. ^ Mazique, Brian. "How The PFL Plans To Change The Way Fans, Fighters And Sponsors See MMA". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  5. ^ "TNA contract nixes Kurt Angle commentator job at World Series of Figh…". archive.is. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  6. ^ "WSOF becomes Professional Fighters League; Inaugural season set to kick off next year". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  7. ^ "BEST MMA FIGHTS | United States | WSOF Global". BEST MMA FIGHTS | United States | WSOF Global. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  8. ^ SEC Form D - MMAX Investment Partners, Inc
  9. ^ "PFL Rules and Regulations" (PDF). PFL MMA.
  10. ^ "A look at how the PFL's points system works". Newsday. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  11. ^ Rosenstein, Greg (7 May 2019). "Favorites and sleepers in every PFL division for Season 2". ESPN.com. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  12. ^ Rosenstein, Greg. "PFL unveils women's lightweight division roster". espnW. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  13. ^ Alexander K. Lee (February 25, 2019). "PFL signs multi-year deal with ESPN". mmafighting.com.
  14. ^ Levy, Joe. "'With OTT there is no better time to be doing this': Why the PFL is betting big on DTC". www.sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  15. ^ Doyle, Dave (29 April 2019). "Former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia signs with PFL". MMA Junkie. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  16. ^ Brito, Santa (4 June 2019). "Professional Fighters League Returns For PFL 3 Thursday Night MMA Action Across ESPN Platforms". ESPN Press Room U.S. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  17. ^ Mazique, Brian. "Professional Fighters League's MMA Format, Roster, Schedule And Free-TV Model Revealed". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  18. ^ Mazique, Brian. "Professional Fighters League's MMA Format, Roster, Schedule And Free-TV Model Revealed". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  19. ^ "PFL roster, event schedule released for 2018 championship season". MMAmania.com. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  20. ^ "PFL roster revealed: Six of these 72 fighters will be millionaires by year's end". MMAjunkie. 2018-04-16. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  21. ^ "Professional Fighters League Reaches Exclusive Multi-Platform Distribution Agreements with NBC Sports Group and Facebook". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  22. ^ "PFL announces 2018 events and broadcast deal with NBC Sports Group and Facebook". mmajunkie.com. January 29, 2018.
  23. ^ "PFL signs broadcast deal with ESPN for second season". mmajunkie.com. February 25, 2019.
  24. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2018-05-01). "Professional Fighters League Sets Broadcast Team For Inaugural Season". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  25. ^ "PFL 2: Full results, standings and highlights | BJPenn.com". | BJPenn.com. 2018-06-22. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  26. ^ "PFL 1 results, standings and highlights | BJPenn.com". | BJPenn.com. 2018-06-08. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  27. ^ "Standings". Professional Fighters League. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  28. ^ "PFL 3 full results, highlights and standings: Jake Shields gets face-planted in main event | BJPenn.com". | BJPenn.com. 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2018-07-09.

External linksEdit