Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is considering investing in PFL MMA, signaling its interest in the world of cage-fighting. Find out how this move could reshape the industry and challenge the dominance of the UFC.
A new report suggests that the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) is considering entering the world of cage-fighting by investing in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) MMA. The PIF, which manages close to $800 billion, has been actively seeking opportunities to change perceptions of Saudi Arabia within Western culture.
The nation has long been associated with human rights violations, but by investing billions in popular sports leagues like the NBA, Premier League, and LIV Golf, Saudi Arabia hopes to present itself in a different light to Western sports fans. While the effectiveness of this strategy remains uncertain, the Saudi PIF continues to explore avenues for involvement in rising sports ventures.
According to Bloomberg, combat sports such as mixed martial arts have caught the attention of the Saudi PIF. The report aligns with statements from Donn Davis, the founder and chairman of PFL MMA, who expressed the league’s openness to foreign investors. Davis stated, ‘We are a global league and a global sport. Would we like to have investors from outside of the United States? Yes. Would that be a good thing for our company? Yes.’
While the UFC currently dominates the MMA industry, it may not be the most viable investment option for the Saudi PIF. Ari Emanuel, the CEO of the UFC’s parent company Endeavor, has been critical of the Saudi government and is unlikely to accept investment from the PIF. As a result, PFL MMA emerges as a potential alternative for the fund to establish its presence in the sport.
Another intriguing development in the MMA industry is the news that Bellator, a major MMA promotion, is up for sale. PFL MMA is among the contenders to acquire the promotion, with PFL President Ray Sefo expressing his aspirations for a purchase. While the UFC is typically the frontrunner in such acquisitions, the backing of the PIF could potentially outbid the UFC and reshape the industry.
Acquiring Bellator would be a game-changer for PFL MMA and the MMA industry as a whole. It would provide the league with one of the most talented rosters in the sport, establish an undisputed second-place company, and present the first significant competition to the UFC since its rivalry with Pride FC.
Last week, PFL MMA hosted two events at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for their 2023 playoffs.
|PFL MMA 2023 Playoffs – Event 1
|PFL MMA 2023 Playoffs – Event 2