With a firm hold on the U.S. MMA market, the Professional Fighters League is looking to expand its influence. The organization, which already features several fighters from around the world, is literally looking to turn into a global phenomenon.
The PFL recently announced the launch of PFL Europe, a standalone brand to the current program already in America. In select countries around the world, PFL Europe will air on DAZN.
PFL Europe is the promotion’s first-ever regional league that will look to change the game. With PFL Europe utilizing the PFL playoff format, fighters can become stars overnight.
“Launching regional leagues has always been part of our vision as a company, and now in our fifth year and based on the growth of the sport and demand for media distribution among fans, this is the right time to launch our first regional league,” PFL CEO Peter Murray told Sports Business Journal.
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Here is all you need to know about PFL Europe, set to be shown on DAZN (in select countries) beginning in March.
What is the PFL?
Following the acquisition and restructuring of the World Series of Fighting, the PFL was founded in 2017 by Donn Davis. With a launch in 2018, it is the first major MMA promotion where athletes compete in a regular season, post-season, and championship format.
The PFL uses a point system, with wins in a certain round resulting in a certain number of points. The point system of the PFL is based on the round of the fight. A fighter is awarded three points for a win, with a loss worth zero points. If a fighter wins in the first round, they are awarded three extra points. A round-two finish will earn them two extra points, and one point is awarded for a round-three finish.
Fans can watch the PFL on ESPN and ESPN+. The winner of the PFL Finals takes home the championship title from their division and $1 million.
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What is PFL Europe?
In July, PFL announced the launch of PFL Europe, a standalone regional league. The goal is to increase the PFL’s global relevance and brand exposure.
PFL Europe features the top emerging European MMA fighters. Per a release, 32 of Europe’s top-ranked fighters will compete across four weight classes. After four events, there will be four champions. An incentive for the fighter is to compete and prove themselves on a global stage. The winners will take home $100,000 and are provided a chance to earn a spot in the PFL’s $1 million tournament season.
Just like the PFL does in the U.S., PFL Europe will utilize a tournament format. There will be a regular season, playoff, and championship bouts.
“I am pleased to announce the PFL will launch PFL Europe in 2023 to further advance the sport of MMA and fuel PFL’s next phase of global expansion starting in Europe, the number one international MMA growth region,“ said Murray in a release. “Europe is rich with top fighters who are ready to compete in the PFL’s season format on a major stage and passionate MMA fans throughout the region will now have access to premium events staged in Europe.”
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It is the first of what will be multiple international leagues. Following the debut of PFL Europe, there are goals to expand in order to reach tapped and untapped markets.
“Essentially, we’re building the Champions League of MMA,” Murray told MMA Underground.
In November, Julia Boyadjieva joined the PFL as Vice President of International Event Operations and the General Manager of PFL Europe. She has worked with Formula 1 and WWE in the past.
“I am delighted to join the Professional Fighters League to further expand its international footprint, lead the launch of PFL Europe as well as stage premium MMA events across the globe,” said Boyadjieva. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the international growth of such a dynamic, innovative, and revolutionary global sports league.”
PFL Europe schedule
The 2023 PFL Europe season schedule was recently released. It will take place in the following locations:
|March 25||Newcastle, UK – Vertu Motors Arena (Regular Season)|
|July 8||Berlin, Germany – Verti Music Hall (Regular Season)|
|September 30||Paris, France – Zenith Paris La Villette (Playoffs)|
|December 8||Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena (Final)|
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How to watch PFL Europe
|Country||Channel + Live Stream|
Fight fans in select countries can watch PFL Europe on the DAZN streaming app.
“DAZN’s partnership with the PFL is as exciting as it is innovative,” DAZN Group CEO Shay Segev stated. “It delivers yet more great content on our platform as we continue to develop our reputation as the global home of combat sports and the ultimate destination for sports fans.”