PFL acquires Bellator to form ‘global powerhouse’ in MMA

Featured image credit: Bellator

Featured image credit: Bellator

The US-based Professional Fighters League (PFL) has completed the acquisition of fellow mixed martial arts promotion Bellator from Paramount Global.

PFL said the acquisition would create a “global powerhouse” in MMA and accelerate the combined company to become the industry co-leader alongside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

All newly acquired Bellator fighters will become part of the PFL platform and will be available to compete in PFL fight franchises. PFL will continue the Bellator brand, and Bellator will be the ‘one-off’ event product from PFL.

Next year, PFL will launch a reimagined Bellator product entitled Bellator International Champions Series, which will comprise eight fight events each year hosted in major cities around the world. Each event will feature two co-main fights competing for championship belts.

Bellator joins the four existing live fight franchises of the Professional Fighters League: PFL League Season, PFL PPV Super Fights, PFL Challenger Series and PFL International Leagues.

Plans are also in the works for a PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions ‘mega-event’ in 2024. This would feature the champions of each promotion in all seven weight classes in a head-to-head fight experience.

Donn Davis, PFL chairman and founder, and Peter Murray, PFL chief executive, will continue to lead and operate the combined company.

Davis 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.”

In August, PFL announced that Saudi Arabia’s SRJ Sports Investments had acquired a minority equity ownership stake in the promotion.

SRJ will become an investor in a new regional league, PFL MENA, which is due to launch in 2024. At the time, PFL said it was targeting parity with the UFC within the next five years and the acquisition of Bellator has now accelerated these plans.

PFL staged its first events in the UK in 2022 and hosted an expanded season in Europe this year. Events have been held in Newcastle, Berlin and Paris, with Dublin’s 3Arena to host the concluding event on December 8.