Count the Professional Fighters League among the other major mixed martial arts organizations that had banner years in 2018, as the league on Thursday declared that its 2018 tournament season was a success.
Six fighters saw their fortunes change as they ended the year as millionaires following the tournament finale, including:
Featherweight -- Lance Palmer (Columbus, OH) via unanimous decision.
Lightweight -- Natan Schulte (Joinville, Brazil) via unanimous decision.
Welterweight -- Magomed Magomedkerimov (Russia) via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:18 of the 2nd Round.
Middleweight -- Louis Taylor (Chicago, IL) via KO (Punch) at 0:33 of the 1st Round.
Light Heavyweight -- Sean O'Connell (Salt Lake City, UT) via TKO (Corner Stoppage) 5:00 of the 3rd Round.
Heavyweight -- Philipe Lins (Natal, Brazil) via TKO (Knees and Punches) at 0:30 of the 4th Round.
Via press release distributed to the media Thursday, the organization had record numbers of fans tuning in to watch the 2018 Championship, totaling over 5 million viewers in the U.S. on NBCSN as well as internationally through Facebook Watch and other various sports stations. In addition to the tournament itself, PFL set the stage for a new tournament next year at the women’s lightweight division. The face of that tournament is expected to be two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison, who went 3-0 with three finishes this year.
PFL partnered with Draft Kings to run a pick-em contest for the PFL 2018 World Championship. During the broadcast, over 15,000 fans participated in the first-ever Draft Kings/PFL effort.
Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL, was elated, stating, “The PFL Championship on New Year’s Eve from Madison Square Garden was an exclamation point on our fantastic inaugural season of reimagining MMA with the first-ever sport season format of individual fighters competing in regular season, playoffs, and championship.”
He then said, “Over 5 million fans around the world watched as six great fighters earned championship titles and became instant millionaires. Despite the excitement of 2018, the PFL is just getting started, and look for new announcements as we continue to innovate for MMA fans in 2019.”