[이데일리 스타in 이석무 기자] The Professional Fighters League (PFL), a mixed martial arts organization, has absorbed Bellator, a rival organization in the United States, and has grown into a large organization competing with the ‘number one’ UFC.
PFL officially announced on the 21st (hereinafter Korean time), “We have completed the acquisition of Bellator in order to create a global powerhouse in mixed martial arts and leap forward together as an industry leader.” Media conglomerate ‘Paramount Global’ also announced through the US stock exchange ‘NASDAQ’ that it had handed over its subsidiary Bellator to PFL.
Bellator was founded in 2009 and PFL was founded in 2012. In the meantime, there has been competition for the second place after UFC. Based on the mixed martial arts ranking system ‘Fight Matrix’, the PFL expressed confidence in the competition, saying, “Bellator and the integrated roster have become on par with the UFC, which includes more than 30% of the world’s top 25 in each weight class.”
Since 2018, PFL has been operating six weight classes, including heavyweight (-120kg), light heavyweight (-93kg), welterweight (-77kg), lightweight (-70kg), featherweight (-66kg), and women’s lightweight. . In particular, unlike the UFC, it attracts attention by operating a unique method of regular season + playoffs.
The PFL declared, “By merging with Bellator, we have brought in numerous top athletes and have risen to the same status as the UFC,” adding, “In particular, the women’s division (with 80% of the top 25) is the best roster in the world of mixed martial arts.” In addition, he added, “All mixed martial arts fighters signed with Bellator as of November 20, 2023 will be able to compete as part of the PFL platform in the future.”
The PFL platform has increased to five in total, including ▲Regular Season + Playoffs ▲Super Fight ▲Challenger Series ▲International League ▲Bellator. The Super Fight is a franchise to showcase big matches separately from the league, and the Challenger Series is a competition to select promising talent.
The ‘International League’ is scheduled to expand to the Middle East and North Africa, starting with Europe, which was introduced this year. The PFL revealed its 2024 plan, saying, “We will meet the global demand for mixed martial arts by holding 30 live broadcast competitions across all platforms.” In addition, he added, “Next year’s schedule includes a mega event that is symbolic and will become a milestone in the history of mixed martial arts, with ‘PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions’ at its core.”
The PFL is being broadcast in Korea through IB SPORTS, which announced a broadcast renewal contract in December 2022.