Earlier this year is was announced that World Series of Fighting would be no more. The organization, which made it’s debut in 20012, was being re branded as the Professional Fighters League. A league with a full season, playoffs, and a chance for ALL fighters to walk away with a BIG pay day. An idea that some fans and media outlets scoffed at.
The season aspect of the PFL doesn’t start until January of 2018, but the new venture had their debut show on June 30th with some very promising results. The card was was held hand in hand with the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250, which unfortunately was cancelled due to inclement weather. Pushing the MMA card up 2 hours in the time slot and center stage for MMA and race fans alike. Right in the center of the infield at the Daytona International Speedway.
While the weather didn’t want to cooperate, the fighters and the fans came through in full force. A card which saw Jon Fitch claim the #1 seed in the Welterweight Division by defeating Brian Foster by Bulldog Choke. I have said from the beginning that you can say what you want about the league concept, but the pairing of MMA and NASCAR is genius. The numbers reflected that sentiment.
“The event audience peaked at 495,000 viewers with an average of 291,000 over the 143-minute broadcast. Despite the NASCAR Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 having been cancelled due to rain, the strong showing by the League helped lead NBCSN to the top primetime finish for the night (7-11 p.m. ET) among sports networks. The 533,000 viewers topped second-ranked ESPN by 39 percent.
Professional Fighters League: Daytona also performed well in key P18-49 and P25-54 demographics, delivering 82,000 viewers, up 24 percent from the 2016 WSOF premier average and 121,000 viewers, up 48 percent from the 2016 WSOF premiere average, respectively. The race cancellation added to the atmosphere as many of the drivers and their crews packed the venue to watch the Professional Fighters League kick off Fourth of July Weekend with their own brand of fireworks.”
There is still much to be figured out when it comes to new PFL. Many questions which I tried to have answered when I interviewed League Presidents Ray Sefo and Carlos Silva Prior to the event. You can check that out below.
Only time will tell, but the good start definitely helps. Fans and media should have an open mind. Something new is rare in this sport and competition is always good for fans. PFL’s next show will be held on July 29th in Everett, WA at the Xfinity Arena. An event being held on the same night as UFC 214. Another test to see if the new promotion can work hand in hand with the UFC, opposed to against it.
Form more information check out http://www.professionalfightersleague.com/ or follow them on twitter @ProFightLeeague