PFL co-founder Donn Davis discusses ‘fighter-focused’ approach to free agents like Cris Cyborg

·3 min read

ARLINGTON, Texas – The PFL has many goals in mind as the promotion progresses through the 2022 season and beyond, but acquiring free agents, big-name free agents at that, continues to be a key focal point.

PFL co-founder and chairman Donn Davis believes the promotion is in a great spot as it wraps up the first quarter of its fourth season, although he knows there is plenty of room to grow. With a constant eye on improving all areas of the business, including production, distribution, social media strategy, and more, it all circles back to the core of the product: the fights.

Bigger names inside the cage means more fans watching the product, which is exactly what Davis aims to achieve. When a name like Cris Cyborg hits free agency, Davis wants the PFL to be an attractive landing spot.

“Anybody who’s any good, we’re going after hard,” Davis told MMA Junkie when asked if the promotion plans to bring in Cyborg. “Man, woman, big, small, here, there, up, down. We want to be a co-leader in MMA. So we will create a custom deal that meets any fighter’s needs, wherever they are. We want to be very fighter focused to bring in the best of the best at any level.”

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Cyborg is set to become available after fighting out the final bout on her Bellator contract, recording a unanimous decision victory over Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 279. There are not many big names in MMA that Cyborg hasn’t yet faced. However, one of them resides under the PFL banner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison.

It’s a matchup that many have clamored for, but with contract and promotional situations getting in the way, it has yet to materialize. Harrison had the opportunity to sign with Bellator during her own free agency, but ultimately PFL matched its offer, and she returned.

With Harrison secured, Davis hopes that bringing free agents like Cyborg to the table to create the best deal possible will result in some of the biggest fights possible, especially as the promotion eyes the addition of pay-per-view in 2023.

“We’ll be aggressive, but aggressive on a very focused basis, and we’ll listen to fighters,” Davis explained. “What do they care about? What do they want? What are they looking for in a deal? And we’re gonna say yes. That’s our goal to try to build this company.

“So, whether it’s Kayla or whether it’s others that want to come over here to fight her or to make their own legacy and to make their own bank, we want to try to make that happen.”

Davis said Harrison became the first fighter the PFL signed to its upcoming superfight fivision, which launches next year. If Harrison remains undefeated throughout 2022 and claims her third PFL championship, the stage will be set for a massive fight to usher in the new PPV model. Harrison vs. Cyborg could be the perfect fight to light up the marquee.

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