The Professional Fighters League will officially kick off its 2018 campaign as a rebranded organization on Thursday, June 7 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
By the end of its first official “season,” the organization formerly known as World Series of Fighting will have awarded $1 million payouts to its champions in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. The promotion's overall prize pool is $10 million.
The PFL’s seven-event regular season will begin with the aforementioned New York card before moving to Chicago on June 21; Washington, D.C. on July 5; Long Island, N.Y., on July 19 and Aug. 2 and Atlantic City, N.J., on Aug. 16 and Aug. 30.
The PFL postseason, which features a single-elimination format, will take place on three weekends in October. Cities and venues for those events have yet to be announced. The 2018 championship, or PFL 11, will take place on Dec. 31.
All told, PFL’s first season is expected to include 126 fights over the course of 11 events from June to December.
“PFL is the new league for the new era of MMA, the fastest-growing sport in the world,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “We are confident that our innovative win-and-advance format will excite MMA fans and draw new fans to the sport. We are honored to provide these incredibly skilled athletes the opportunity to compete on a major global stage. Fans will be able to follow their favorite fighters on their season-long journey fighting for the championship crown and their share of the $10 million prize pool.”
The PFL season will begin with 12 fighters competing in six weight classes. Eight fighters will advance to the playoff round, and “all competitors will have to win two fights in one evening during the playoff round to advance to the championship event,” according to a release.
The PFL roster features a number of recognizable names, including former WSOF champs Andre Harrison, Lance Palmer and Smealinho Rama and big-show promotional veterans such as Will Brooks, Brian Foster, Marcos Galvao, John Howard, Shawn Jordan, Mike Kyle, Vinny Magalhaes, Ramsey Nijem, Jake Shields, Rick Story and Thiago Tavares, among others. The complete PFL roster can be viewed here.
“The most talented fighters from around the world will proudly fight under the PFL banner,” PFL President Carlos Silva said. “In our format, every single punch and every single round matters, as fighters compete for a shot at the PFL championship. We can’t wait to see all the action in the regular season, which stars emerge post-season in October, and who will share in the biggest MMA prize pool ever on New Year’s Eve.”
All seven PFL regular season events will air in primetime on Thursday nights on NBC Sports Network in the United States. Outside the U.S., Facebook will stream up to six hours of live coverage for each event.