The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has set April 23 for the start of its new season on ESPN2, marking its return to action after a 2020 hiatus caused by the pandemic.
The PFL league is the first to present Mixed Martial Arts in a regular season through championship format. The remaining regular season events will take place on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25. PFL will begin its 2021 season a month early than previous years.
PFL MMA fighters accumulate points toward a possible playoff berth in the year’s first three events. The second half will determine playoff seeding and the championship, the latter with a million-dollar prize. Dates for the playoffs and PFL Championship will be announced at a later date.
The 2021 PFL Season will feature 2X Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison and welterweight champion Ray Cooper III, joined by Rory MacDonald, lightweight’s Johnny “Hollywood” Case, and “The Canadian Gangster,” Olivier Aubin-Mercier, plus reigning Brave FC featherweight champion Bubba Jenkins, among others.
“We’re thrilled to announce an early start date for the 2021 PFL Season and we look forward to building on the positive momentum experienced in a historic first season on ESPN,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “In 2021, the PFL will deliver an elevated, immersive, and interactive fan viewing experience incorporating expanded, real-time fighter data and analytics from our proprietary SmartCage technology, behind-the-scenes access, the return of ref cam, and more. Our champions return looking to earn another title, while a fresh crop of exciting new fighters will challenge for the top spot in MMA. Additional contenders will be unveiled in the leadup to what we believe will be the biggest season in PFL history.”
The PFL has distribution on ESPN2 and ESPN+ in the US, and reaches more than 160 countries via premium sports networks and platforms. The 2019 championship on New Year’s Eve averaged 400,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.
PFL Studios, the media division of PFL, produces original MMA content and has distribution partnerships with Eurosport, Telesport, WAVE.tv, and FuboTV, among others.
More from Deadline
Best of Deadline