Monday, May 16, 2022

WSOF Set to Rebrand and Debut as Professional Fighters League in January 2018

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is set to rebrand following The Professional Fighters League’s acquisition of the company earlier this year.

It was announced on Tuesday that the Professional Fighters League will be “the world’s only mixed martial arts (MMA) league”, and will debut under the new brand in January 2018.

In what looks to be an ambitious venture, there will be a $10 million prize pool to be distributed across seven weight classes. This news comes following confirmation that Professional Fighters League had acquired the fighting operations and event infrastructure of the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) earlier this year.

MMANews’ Tim Thompson reached out to a source with knowledge of Professional Fighters League in an effort to gain further insight into the details regarding the new venture. Tim enquired into the format and length of the season, and how many fights each competitor could expect to go through in a regular season:

“Mechanics of the regular season will be announced in the coming weeks/months,” replied sources with knowledge of the new league. “Roughly 10 months, but again, specifics and further detail are to come. The big story today is the launch of Professional Fighters League, the league/season format and the $10 million prize pool.”

Tim also requested further information regarding a time frame for the beginning and end of the playoffs, and the number of competitors involved:

“We will rollout the mechanics of how the season will work soon. Today’s announcement is about Professional Fighters League using the building blocks of WSOF to launch this brand new venture.

When asked by Tim what the fate of future WSOF cards will be this year, or if the company rebrand would take immediate effect, sources with knowledge of the new league were clear in stating that the rebrand would not take effect until the official launch in January 2018. Existing television deals with NBC would be renegotiated, with the new endeavour ‘touted around’ to other networks:

“There will be events/fights in 2017 leading up to the official launch in January 2018,” sources replied. “Details to come.The NBC agreement expires at the end of the year. We are in conversations with a number of media organizations, including NBC about 2018.”

When asked questions pertaining to existing WSOF rostered fighters transferring over to Professional Fighters League (or if they would have the ability to opt out, for example) Tim was told that this was yet to be declared.  Information regarding current WSOF champions having any bye in the playoffs, or holding any special status as a current champion was also not confirmed by the source:

“All will be included in the coming announcements about the mechanics of how the season will work. Today is a 30,000 ft view of the enormous transformation of the organization into a real sports league.”

It has been confirmed by sources with knowledge of the new league that there will be both male and female competitors.

Russ Ramsey, who is the Executive Chairman of the Professional Fighters League sees the new venture as both innovative yet not too far removed from the fundamental structures of professional Mixed Martial Arts:

“The Professional Fighters League brings a proven sports format that fans love and athletes respect to MMA for the first time,” Ramsey said in a press release on Tuesday. Featuring a regular season, post-season, and championship structure, the launch of the Professional Fighters League continues the evolution of MMA into a professional, mass-market, prime-time sport for a global audience.”

The new league is a global, open invitation for MMA fighters. The layout for fighters will involve fighting in one of the seven weight classes, competing in scheduled fights throughout a season.

Akin to a standard tournament format, fighters with the best records head into a “win-or-go-home” playoff scenario. The Professional Fighters League season champion will be awarded to the winner of each weight class tournament and will be awarded a $1 million cash prize.

Furthermore, there will also be a $3 million pot which will be shared amongst other regular season and playoff competitors.

Check out the promotional video at the top of this page.

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