If you take heed to Peter Murray discuss concerning the Skilled Fighters League, you can not assist however be drawn to the repetition of two phrases; character and alternative.
To launch an MMA organisation which goals to be distinctive and likewise compete alongside one of many largest and strongest firms in sport, you want loads of each.
However in addition to providing a very inimitable format to an everyday MMA organisation, the PFL and Murray are aiming to co-exist alongside the UFC.
Very like the Premier League and LaLiga are adored equally throughout the globe, the thesis for PFL is to compete alongside the UFC and thrive as a separate product for followers world wide.
“Whereas EPL followers assist their favorite crew, these followers are watching the highest soccer world wide and the athletes,” Murray advised talkSPORT.com.
“This enables them to additional interact and, from what I do know concerning the MMA fan base, they’ve extra time and curiosity and are demanding extra high quality occasions world wide.
“With basketball within the United States, you’ve the NBA and NCAA collegiate content material – there are over 6000 video games a 12 months. In relation to international MMA, we now have the UFC and PFL (as we are actually the quantity two market chief) and Bellator for quantity three, there are lower than 100 occasions.
“There’s a lot alternative and that’s what we’re actually enthusiastic about.”
The joy and real ardour which transcends a easy cellphone name whenever you communicate to the Manhattanite is electrical and the PFL CEO has the credentials to again up his spectacular statements.
After spending greater than 13 years as a senior government on the NFL, the New York native ventured on to William Morris Endeavour earlier than launching his personal sports activities advertising and marketing company – Insignia.
Murray developed connections and labored with Below Armour to assist signal the likes of Steph Curry, Michael Phelps, Anthony Joshua and even Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Southampton.
Nevertheless it was when he helped launch the Skilled Fighters League that his curiosity in combined martial arts started to peak and his want to delve deeper into the game got here on account of assembly the fighters themselves.
“My crew did work on advertising and marketing and gross sales and so actually created a basis for me,” he added. “Previous to that, I used to be a fan of fight.
“I didn’t have any skilled expertise working with any MMA organisations or athletes and I used to be blown away.
“Particularly, by the athletes; their journeys, coming from totally different disciplines inside fight, and searching for alternatives to compete at the next stage.”
The World Sequence of Combating was launched because the Skilled Fighters League in 2018 and have become the primary skilled MMA league to utilise a regular league format for athletes to compete.
In addition to an everyday season, there’s a post-season and a championship belt to be claimed on the climax of the season.
There are at the moment six weight lessons within the PFL, with the champion from every division claiming a $1million prize on New 12 months’s Eve at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York.
Whereas you may even see your favorite fighter in motion every year, followers can get behind a person preventing within the PFL understanding they may struggle 5 instances in eight months and it’s designed to sate the cravings followers must see the most effective on the planet regularly.
“There are 450 million MMA followers world wide and rising,” Murray continued. “This fan base is youthful than different main sports activities league followers and they’re extra engaged digitally and socially.
“Most significantly from a enterprise perspective, they’re craving for extra high quality MMA dwell occasions and content material, so that’s our enterprise thesis merely.
“We’re fulfilling that pent up demand from followers, we’re doing it with a premium and revolutionary product, and one which’s differentiated from the UFC.
“We’ve staged it on a unique evening of the week in order that followers can interact in additional content material, that’s differentiated and complimentary. Our roster is stacked with prime 25 ranked fighters from world wide and we now have 25 nations represented on the roster.”
The celebrities have already begun to flock to PFL of their drones; former Bellator welterweight world champion and UFC title contender Rory MacDonald has joined the organisation, as has two-time Olympic Gold medallist Kayla Harrison.
British MMA is properly represented by Brendan Loughnane, who grew to become the discuss of the MMA world when he was controversially snubbed by Dana White final 12 months. The Mancunian duly determined to affix PFL and advised Murray, ‘I’ll carry a nation on my again’.
The 2019 season noticed astounding ranges of development for the corporate because it was the primary streamed content material on ESPN+ on Thursday nights, with a 101% development in viewership year-on-year and a spike of 43% year-on-year in home linear viewing viewers.
The problem for Murray and the PFL was to enhance and develop, however the outbreak of COVID-19 noticed the 2020 season scrapped.
But the corporate has labored tirelessly to make sure the 2021 season goes forward as deliberate, with a number of new and thrilling options to attract much more new followers in.
In addition to being the primary MMA organisation to measure punch pace and combine the information for followers to understand dwell, kick pace and coronary heart fee may even be measured for the 2021 season. It can permit followers to study much more about their fighters and who actually hits onerous, whereas additionally providing gaming and sports activities betting alternatives that are, once more, distinctive to PFL.
He continued: “There was ZERO innovation in boxing when it comes to broader fight, which was the chief for many years, now I consider boxing is completely damaged.
“There’s been unbelievable development, however the sport of MMA is but to achieve the height. So our focus, our imaginative and prescient our mission is to reimagine and develop the game and do it with distinction.
“We’re main with sport altering innovation for MMA and, fairly frankly, for broader sport.”
The 2021 season will lastly get beneath method in April proper the best way by way of till July in Las Vegas on the legendary Caesar’s Leisure venue.
Though COVID restrictions for now means a bubble system can be in operation, the hope is that followers can return to the common season PFL occasions in addition to take pleasure in it from house on ESPN as soon as once more within the States.
President of Fighter Operations and six-time world Muay Thai champion Ray Sefo helped develop Marlon Moraes and UFC interim light-weight champion Justin Gaethje and is working tirelessly to find much more expertise throughout the globe, with extra information about roster growth anticipated earlier than the tip of the 12 months.
With Murray on the helm implementing new know-how and concepts to additional interact followers internationally, the return of the PFL is bound to ship shockwaves by way of the MMA group.