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  • Tarrian Rodgers

PFL purchases Bellator setting the stage for mega matches

PFL has been trying to establish itself as a major player in the combat sports world. Earlier this year PFL had partnered with both Jake Paul and Francis Ngannou. Ngannou’s deal made him the chairman of P.F.L. Africa.

Monday made their biggest announcement yet. PFL has acquired Bellator MMA.Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Paramount, the former parent company of Bellator, will remain involved as a minority owner. The Bellator brand will still run as a separate, "reimagined" product in 2024, but all Bellator-signed athletes will immediately be available to compete on PFL platforms. PFL is planning a "mega event" in 2024 featuring champion vs. champion matchups between the two promotions.

PFL will add top tier talent such as lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov, featherweight champion Patricio Freire, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. The most anticipated match of this merger is no doubt Cris Cyborg vs PFL’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison.

"The basis of all sports is the quality of competitors," Davis told ESPN. "With this acquisition, this combined roster is now equal to the UFC in terms of Top 25-ranked talent. The quality of the product, the depth of the product -- this makes the PFL a global powerhouse overnight. That's just not possible in everyday sports. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Bellator's former parent company Paramount decided to opt out from its current deal with Showtime for the remainder of 2023. PFL who currently airs on ESPN just added a huge ratings boost to ESPN. "The combined PFL and Bellator fighter rosters are second to none in MMA," PFL CEO Peter Murray said in the statement. "We can't wait to bring MMA fans what they have been asking for -- best vs. best with the PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions Mega-Event."

The PFL will now consist of five fight "franchises," including its foundational PFL League Season, PFL pay-per-view Super Fight League, PFL Challenger Series, PFL International Leagues and Bellator. According to a news release, the company plans to promote 30 events per year. The Challenger Series focuses on up-and-coming talent, while the International Leagues aspire to find eventual footholds in Europe, Africa and Australia.

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