Professional Fighters League is growing behind the scenes. This month, PFL announced the completion of a $30 million Series E equity round to fund global expansion and launch its new PPV Super Fight Division. The Series E funding round was led by Waverley Capital, a media and digital-focused venture capital firm co-led by Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and Daniel Leff. Baseball legend and businessman Alex Rodriguez also invested, joining the PFL Board of Directors as a result.
With this new capital, PFL has total funding to date of $200 million from blue-chip investors, including Ares Capital, Elysian Park Ventures, Luxor Capital, Knighthead, Legends, Swan Ventures; several NBA, MLB, and NHL team owners, as well as two dozen sports and media leaders and influencers, including Ted Leonsis, Brandon Beck, Mark Lerner, Debra Cafaro, Ray Lewis, and Wiz Khalifa.
With a roster boasting MMA talents such as Kayla Harrison, Ray Cooper III, Rory MacDonald, Julia Budd, and Anthony Pettis, Professional Fighters League (PFL) is one of the best-known MMA organizations in the world today, with 25% percent of its fighters independently ranked in the top-25 of the world. PFL is watched live in 160 countries by 600 million MMA fans, via ESPN, ESPN+, and streaming.
PFL provides live MMA fight events year-round. The PFL League has top world-ranked fighters compete in a 10 event schedule in the sports-season format, all live primetime on ESPN and ESPN+. The PFL Challenger Series is an 8 event schedule, where emerging pro fighters compete to earn a contract in the PFL League Season, and is featured live on FUBO TV. All PFL fight events are broadcast and streamed worldwide to 160 countries via dozens of leading media distribution partners, which include Channel 4, DirecTV, RMC Sport, Eurosport, Sky Sports, and more.
“While it is clear that sports is the most valuable content and intellectual property in the world, what is also becoming increasingly clear is that MMA is the growth sports business of this decade,” said PFL Founder and Chairman Donn Davis. “The MMA category is on fire, and while UFC is the first winner in this market, several major valuable companies will be built, and PFL has secured the #2 market position and is the fastest growing and most innovative company in MMA.”
“With this new capital, PFL is open for business to sign the biggest MMA star fighters in the world to our new PPV Super Fight Division,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray, “Just as we changed the game with our league season format, we will now disrupt the long-overdue pay-per-view business for the benefit of fighters by partnering to make them major participants in the revenue of their own fights.”
“I love the global reach of MMA,” said Alex Rodriguez. “The PFL continues to build and innovate for fans, media, and fighters and there is massive demand in the marketplace.”
“PFL is a global platform company that is at the intersection of all key media and consumer trends,” said Daniel Leff, Co-Founder and Co-Head of Waverley Capital, and now also a new member of the PFL Board of Directors. “PFL fights are high action with global athletes, ideal for the age of streaming and mobile, and have the youngest demographic across all sports, a perfect fit for sponsors. The PFL SmartCage is data-rich, propelling engagement and gaming, and the company centrally owns all its intellectual property, allowing it to facilitate new revenue ranging from NFTs to licensing.”
Waverley Capital is a media and digital-focused venture capital firm co-founded by Edgar Bronfman Jr. (former CEO of Warner Music Group and Universal) and Daniel Leff (current or former Board member of Roku, fuboTV, The Athletic, others). Waverley has invested in and helped build numerous category-defining media companies, including Roku, fuboTV, Matterport, PlutoTV (sold to ViacomCBS), Wondery (sold to Amazon, Inc.), TheAthletic (sold to New York Times, Inc.), Art19 (sold to Amazon, Inc.), 1Mainstream (sold to Cisco Systems, Inc.), Elemental Technologies (sold to Amazon, Inc.), and Headspace.
Professional Fighters League
As mentioned earlier, a unique aspect of PFL is that it is the first and only MMA league with a season format. Fighters from around the world compete in a regular season, and then four competitors in each division (Featherweight, Heavyweight 265, Light Heavyweight 205, Lightweight 155, Welterweight 170, and Women’s Lightweight 155) who earn the most points in the regular season advance to the win-or-go-home playoffs. After that is the PFL World Championship, where each winner goes home with a prize of one million dollars and a championship belt.
PFL has a portfolio of blue-chip partners, which includes sponsors such as Anheuser-Busch, IBM, GEICO, DraftKings, Bose, Socios.com, Air Force Reserve, and US Marine Corps.