PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE are in talks with boxers and other ‘crossover athletes’ – all interested in their ‘life-changing’ $1million prize.
The PFL has a unique quarters, semis and final MMA format, which see the final two competitors dramatically fight for the winning $1m cheque.
In its third season – which comes to a close in Florida on October 27 – it has been a historical one for the MMA organisation and CEO Peter Murray.
Viewership on ESPN has risen by 100 per cent and marquee names have also joined their stable.
That includes ex-UFC champions Anthony Pettis 34, and Fabricio Werdum, 44, as well as undefeated boxer Claressa Shields, 26.
But according to Murray, there is more to come, with other stars enticed by the three-fight a year format, lucrative prize money and championship belt up for grabs.
He told SunSport: “Those fighters who performed well and won, they’ve earned their shot in the championship for the big money.
“So it provides an added drama for fans, and for fighters a big payday. A million dollars is life-changing money.
“It’s big money in this sport, so fighters have the chance to make more money in the PFL.
“Fighters have been looking for an alternative and we have certainty been compelling fighters now or they’re now compelled to go into free agency.
“Now they have a real option as the No2 MMA organisation in the sport today.
“We’re speaking to a lot of different crossover athletes, boxers, who have brought a skill and desire to compete at a high level in MMA.”
Shields, a three-weight boxing champion, made her MMA debut with PFL in June and will now return in the finale of season three.
Also headlining that night is double Olympic judo gold medallist Kayla Harrison, 31, who won the women’s lightweight 2019 championship.
American Harrison faces Taylor Guardado in this year’s finals, looking to become a two-time champ.
Next year PFL will launch a challenger series, with the winner going on to compete in their regular season.
Pay-per-view will also be rolled out, as well as a combine which will evaluate athletes on mental and physical abilities.
Murray said: “We’re launching a challenger series, which is new.
“We’ll be launching a combining which is new and we’re also launching pay-per-view, which is new.
“And pay-per-view will come after the start of the PFL season this coming spring.”
Murray also revealed PFL are closing in on a UK media partnership, having not yet signed a network deal.
He said: “Number one, the UK is a priority market from an international perspective for the PFL, it’s one of our top priorities.
“Number two, we will absolutely have a new media partner in 2022, or partners, which will expand the visibility of the PFL and provide access for fans in the UK to not only the season product but the other properties I referenced.”