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The Rise of a New Era: Professional Fighters League Dominates the Biggest Moments of 2023

Professional Fighters League

To say that 2023 was a landmark year for the Professional Fighters League (PFL) is an understatement. 


The US-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion enjoyed perhaps their biggest year this year, which featured a number of big-name signings, the emergence of new stars and new franchises, as well as an industry-defining purchase. 


Before 2023 comes to a close, let’s take a quick look back at the Professional Fighters League's most notable moments of 2023.

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The Acquisition of Bellator


Easily the PFL’s biggest moment of 2023, the self-proclaimed number-2 MMA promotion in the world strengthened its stance by acquiring Bellator MMA, a well-established MMA promotion that has its own share of big names and stars, to create a “new global MMA powerhouse.” 


With the purchase of Bellator, the PFL now owns the promotion’s stacked roster, which features the likes of Patricio “Pitbull” Friere, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, Ryan Bader, Vadim Nemkov, and many others. This influx of new stars has opened the door for multiple dream fights to watch out for in 2024. 


Bellator MMA will continue to live on as a franchise under the PFL banner. 


Big Name Signings


Bringing in big names has been nothing new for the PFL. In the past years, the league has signed world champions like Claressa Shields, Rory MacDonald, Anthony Pettis, and Fabricio Werdum, as well as proven names like Jeremy Stephens, Aspen Ladd, Marlon Moraes, and Shane Burgos. 


2023 however, was the PFL’s biggest year in terms of fighter signings, with the addition of social media star-turned-boxer Jake Paul, and heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Paul and Ngannou will be part of the PFL’s new PPV Superfight Division franchise, while also taking roles as executives. 


The PFL also added Derek Brunson, Savannah Marshall, and Amanda Serrano to their stacked roster of fighters. 


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The Success of PFL Europe


2023 saw the inaugural season of PFL Europe, and it was indeed nothing short of a success. A ‘spinoff’ league of sorts which puts the spotlight on the region’s best and brightest up-and-comers, the PFL Europe followed a similar true sports season format that featured a regular season, playoffs, and finals, with the winners being crowned PFL Europe champions and awarded a $100,000 prize. More importantly, PFL Europe’s winners get their chance to join the PFL’s million-dollar global season. 


The league also birthed stars like Cedric Doumbe, Dakota Ditcheva, Nathan Kelly, and more. 


PFL Europe has provided the blueprint for succeeding regional PFL tournaments, with areas like Asia, the Middle East, and Africa as potential targets in the coming years. 


Multiple Partnerships


A major part of the PFL’s success is their ability to bring in major partners, and 2023 has been another big year for big deals. 


This year, the PFL renewed their media rights with ESPN and strike partnerships with Proper Twelve, Combate, Dafabet, the Air Force Reserve, and many others. 


This only proves that the PFL is indeed growing in all aspects. 


2023 was indeed the PFL’s biggest year, and 2024 could even be bigger. 

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