PFL founder Donn Davis discusses the purchase of Bellator and when Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul will have fights in 2024.
The news broke on Tuesday that the Professional Fighters League had acquired Bellator MMA including the entire Bellator roster. PFL founder Donn Davis appeared on The MMA Hour to discuss the purchase and what it means for the company moving forward. He also talks about when Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul will have fights in 2024.
“Our first goal was to be number 2. That was really our first goal. Check, we did that. Now our next goal, with new assets and new capabilities and great fighters, how do we become co-leader,” said Davis.
“Athletes, in any sport, whether it’s the NBA, or the MMA, are the foundation of everything. The more quality athletes, the deeper and better product. And PFL, great vision. PFL, great capability. PFL done great so far, but we need more and better athletes, and there’s one company that at one time could put us on equal footing with the UFC, and that was Bellator,” Davis continued.
“We were getting more than our share of free agents, four or five a year. We were never losing our top fighters. Never lost one, but we weren’t getting there fast enough. So, I called them to say that was the big, once in a company move that overnight that we could have a roster in quality on par and on stature with the UFC, so how could we get that done. That was there reason for making that call.”
Donn Davis explained that it wasn’t a cash deal but a stock deal and Paramount is now a ‘small minority owner’ of the PFL. The deal was finalized on Saturday. Bellator Champions will remain Bellator Champions and the PFL acquired the entire Bellator roster. There will be eight one-off events a year under the Bellator name and the PFL season will run as it always has.
“This could last one, this could last forever. As entrepreneurs, we don’t want to be right, we want to win. We think this is a winning idea, but ultimately the fans tell us what’s a winning idea. The difference we have often times with the UFC is the UFC wants to be right. We want to win,” said Davis.
Francis Ngannou to compete in 2024
The fight promotion will have pay-per-view events, two a year. Francis Ngannou will be on one of them in 2024.
“He will fight with PFL in 2024. We don’t know if it’s first or last quarter,” Davis said. “I still think it will be a mixed rules fight, and I still think Deontay Wilder is the most likely opponent. That would be unbelievable.”
“We’re listening to Francis and he’s sequencing his options. He has a great boxing option and this great crossover option. What works for him in 2024 and what works for the opponents and how to put those together, that’s we’re working with him right now.”
Jake Paul will fight in PFL in the fourth quarter of 2024
Jake Paul will fight on the second PPV of 2024.
“Jake was always Q4 because for him to get good, in his standards, for an MMA fight that’s legitimate worthy, he says that he needs that year. He started training a month ago in the smart cage down at his home, so I think that is October-December 2024.”