Since mid-April, when the Professional Fighters League cancelled its 2020 season, the organization’s executives have been looking ahead to next year. Recently, with the number of coronavirus cases continuing to increase, the mixed martial arts organization decided it would stage its 2021 season in a bubble environment similar to what the NBA, NHL and other professional sports leagues have implemented.
Peter Murray, the PFL’s chief executive, said the league plans on beginning next season in May and hosting six regular season events through August, all in the same U.S. location. It will then have three playoff events in October at the same location, with two fighters in each of the six weight classes advancing to the final event on New Year’s Eve, where the champions will be crowned and awarded $1 million apiece.
The organization is in the process of selecting a host city for the regular season and playoffs. It expects to announce the location and other details by the end of November.
PFL Studios is led by executive producer George Greenberg, who joined the company three years ago from Fox Sports, where he was an executive vice president. The studio’s productions so far include a look at some of the best knockouts in the PFL’s history as well as a behind-the-scenes series on Rory MacDonald, a former UFC fighter and Bellator welterweight world champion who signed with the PFL late last year. It is also producing a documentary on Randy Couture, a five-time UFC champion and current PFL announcer.
The PFL is also going to stream next year’s fights live on the app in some countries outside of the U.S. The fights in the U.S. are broadcast live on ESPN2 and streamed on ESPN+, but the archives will eventually be on the PFL’s app.
“The app gives us the opportunity to broaden our reach and positions the company as a year-round content company and destination for MMA fans,” Murray said. “It expands the relationship with our fans beyond our regular season, playoff and championship events. We’re now engaging fans directly every day of the year.”