MMA Ratings Podcast

January 5, 2019

PFL 11: Promotion Could Draw Big-Name Free Agents With the Lure of $1 Million Grand Prize

By Adam Martin

The first season of PFL is in the books, and in many ways it was a success. The promotion formerly known as World Series of Fighting promised to deliver six tournament winners $1 million grand prizes after going through a regular season and playoff format, and although fans and media members were skeptical about PFL's promises, the promotion's final 2018 event on New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden in New York City showed that there's a lot to like about what PFL is doing.

PFL 11 was a perfect way to cap the promotion's first season. It's rare to see an MMA event feature six title fights, but somehow the organization was able to pull it off. Six fighters were awarded $1 million dollar checks and championship belts, including:

Also on the card, highly-touted women's lightweight prospect Kayla Harrison also had a great performance. Overall, it was a tremendous night of fights for PFL, and should win them some new fans.

But not only did PFL wins over fans and media. I believe their last event of the season is going to win over other MMA fighters, who no doubt took notice of the giant payouts for PFL's fighters. Not only did the winners each get $1 million for winning the tournament, but the runners-up took home $200,000 each. So the pay was very good for PFL, and fighters in the UFC and Bellator who are able to become free agents should be very interested in seeing whether PFL does another season. If it does, the organization may be able to lure some big names to its ranks. Because although there's some allure to fighting in the UFC (and Bellator to a lesser degree), ultimately MMA fighters are prizefighters, and if PFL offers the biggest prize, fighters should go there.

Of course, PFL needs to start making more money for its investors. We know that attendance woes were a problem all season, and TV ratings weren't great. PFL could do a much better job of promoting its events and its athletes, and hopefully everyone involved can learn from their mistakes and make a second season (if there indeed is one) even stronger. But there's something special here with PFL and I really think this promotion holds some promise. MMA was built on a tournament structure, and at some point the UFC went away from it, and for the most part so did Bellator. But PFL is embracing the tournament format, and paying the fighters what they deserve to compete in such a tough schedule. It's an interesting concept and only time will tell if PFL will be successful with what it is doing, but the promotion and its fighters certainly have a lot of momentum right now after a stellar final event of the first season. I'm very interested to see what 2019 has in store for PFL and its fighters.

PFL 11: The Championship took place December 31, 2018 at Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Click HERE for more "PFL 11 Post-Fight Analysis

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