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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Pattle

PFL acquires Bellator to strengthen roster in rivalry with UFC


The Professional Fighters League has strengthened its roster by acquiring Bellator, as it looks to close the gap to the UFC.

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) had overtaken Bellator on numerous metrics in recent years to become the chief rival to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in the world of mixed martial arts. Recent reports suggested that the PFL would soon acquire Bellator, and that news was confirmed on Monday (20 November).

Donn Davis – founder, chairman and co-owner of the PFL – even teased an event in 2024 that could feature fights between the PFL’s champions and those from Bellator.

“New MMA global powerhouse @PFLMMA acquires @Bellator,” Davis tweeted. “Our fighter roster equal to UFC. Both [consist of] 30% top-25 world-ranked fighters.

“PFL launch reimagined Bellator - Bellator International Champions Series. Mega-event for fans in 2024 - PFL champs vs. Bellator champs.”

YouTube star Jake Paul, who has crossed into boxing in recent years, signed a deal with the PFL earlier in 2023, setting up his MMA debut. While that debut was due to take place this year, it now looks likelier to happen in 2024.

Paul, 26, tweeted on Monday: “This is a great day for all PFL and Bellator fighters and MMA fans. The stronger we get, the more opportunities there are for everyone.”

In a video, the American added: “Massive news, the PFL has acquired Bellator. This is insane news for the whole, entire industry, and makes PFL even more of a global powerhouse, with the fight roster now equal to that of the UFC. We have some challenges. Let’s prove it. Their champions versus our champions, let’s make it happen. Come on now!”

Paul’s tweet was reposted by Bellator.

The PFL also already counts Francis Ngannou among its roster members. Ngannou, who relinquished the UFC heavyweight title upon leaving the promotion in January, is one of the biggest stars in MMA and boxed world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in October.

Ngannou, who signed with the PFL earlier this year and is due to debut in the company in 2024, knocked down Fury in Saudi Arabia before losing a controversial decision.

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