How PFL’s $100 million Saudi investment and ‘MENA’ project can compete with UFC after WWE merger

The PFL has interesting strategies to compete with the UFC on a global scale. The new 'MENA' projects could do wonders in MMA world


How PFL’s $100 million Saudi investment and ‘MENA’ project can compete with UFC after WWE merger

PFL emerged as the second biggest MMA promotion behind the UFC in 2023 (via talkSport)

The PFL has emerged as a major destination for free-agent fighters in MMA behind the UFC. Since its launch in 2017, the promotion has slowly built its roster, emphasizing tournament-style fights. The organization, under the leadership of Peter Murray and Loren Mack, has made huge strides since then. They signed big names like Francis Ngannou, Jake Paul, and Cedric Doumbe to improve the star power in their promotion.

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In 2018, Bellator and One Championship were the two featured promotions that competed against the UFC. Fast forward to 2023, PFL has become a real threat to the UFC’s dominance. Bellator could be up for sale, according to the latest rumors. Hence, it has left PFL with an opportunity to increase its footing in the untapped markets of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

The UFC’s merger with the WWE to form the TKO Group Holdings may have propelled them to the top of the industry. However, PFL’s Saudi Investment could help them strategically compete against the UFC/WWE merger. Find out the various ways through which PFL competes against the UFC.

Related: What is TKO? Know everything about $21 billion UFC-WWE merger’s new title

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PFL tapping into the African market is a game-changer in competing against the UFC

The UFC continues its global expansion with a Performance Institute in Mexico. Mexican fighters like Yair Rodriguez, Brandon Moreno, and Alexa Grasso have increased the popularity of MMA in Mexico. Similarly, the rise and dominance of Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman, and Ngannou have made the MMA popular in the continent of Africa. However, a major promotion has yet to put a show for the people in the African continent. And the PFL remains very close to doing so.

Loren Mack PFL
Loren Mack is very confident about tapping into other markets

Loren Mack spoke to FirstSportz and detailed the untapped potential in Africa. Mack is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at the PFL. He said, “There is a substantial demand in Africa among fans who are eager to access high-quality MMA events. With a prominent world champion like Francis Ngannou leading the way, we are not only excited to bring our brand of MMA to Africa, but also in nurturing talent, promoting competition, and uniting fans throughout the continent.”

Many experts believe PFL’s venture into Africa will bring more global superstars from the continent. The sport could grow immensely with major fights across the Middle East and Africa (MENA). It will launch in 2024, and the PFL’s Super Fight division has the potential to become a game-changer. Stars like Jake Paul and Amando Serrano could compete in the Super Fight division. This is just the beginning of something extraordinary.

Francis Ngannou’s arrival opened the door for other fighters to join PFL

In the UFC, fighters cannot promote their individual sponsorships. Francis Ngannou has advocated for personal sponsorships for the fighters. However, the PFL does not endorse such practices. Moreover, the PFL attracts fighters with offers that benefit the fighters.

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Francis Ngannou signing the PFL contract after leaving the UFC
Francis Ngannou signing the PFL contract after leaving the UFC (via Francis Ngannou Instagram)

Mack said, “We always welcome star and high-caliber fighters to join the PFL. Our organization offers attractive contracts and prioritizes the well-being of fighters, making it an enticing choice for them.”

Putting the fighters first remains an enticing choice for fighters. The story of Cedric Doumbe remains the best example. More fighters from the UFC could leave the company to receive lucrative offers from the PFL. It would likely make the playing field even.

PFL has a vision for a global positive impact

PFL’s partnership with Saudi Arabia could bring more MMA fights to the region. The footballing world changed after superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo came to the Saudi Pro League. Similarly, the PFL signing major free agents can impact the MMA scene on a global level.

PFL CEO Peter Murray
PFL CEO Peter Murray (via Sports Illustrated)

Recently, major boxing events have come to Saudi Arabia. Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2, Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury, and Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou chose Saudi Arabia as the destination for the high-profile event. PFL could bring a football-like impact to MMA in Saudi Arabia.

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Mack spoke about the potential of the Asian market. He said, “With some truly remarkable Asian fighters already competing in our global league, it’s evident that we are committed to expanding our brand of MMA to Asia in the near future.” These aspects could change the sport of MMA on a global scale and make it a legitimate competition to the UFC.

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