Understanding PFL’s Acquisition of Bellator

Welcome to our comprehensive analysis of the recent acquisition of Bellator by PFL. In this article, we will dive deep into the details, making sense of this significant merger and its implications for the MMA landscape. As PFL takes over Bellator, questions arise regarding their ability to become a strong competitor to the UFC and the overall impact on the sport and its athletes.

Join us as we explore the insights shared by MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti, Jed Meshew, and Damon Martin, providing valuable perspectives on PFL’s acquisition and PFL chairman Donn Davis’ vision for the future. This acquisition marks a pivotal moment in the history of MMA, and we’re here to unravel the potential outcomes and discuss the possible shifts in the industry’s balance of power.

The Impact of PFL’s Acquisition on Bellator

PFL’s recent acquisition of Bellator has sent shockwaves through the MMA community, raising questions about the strategic move and its implications for both organizations. As PFL solidifies its position as a major player in the industry, the impact on Bellator’s operations, brand, and roster of fighters remains uncertain.

With PFL’s financial backing and resources, Bellator may have the opportunity to expand its reach and compete more closely with the UFC. This acquisition could potentially lead to increased exposure for Bellator fighters and a higher level of competition within the organization. However, it is essential to evaluate how PFL’s vision aligns with Bellator’s existing identity and whether any significant changes will be made to the promotion’s format and events.

The partnership between PFL and Bellator will undoubtedly undergo scrutiny as fans and industry experts closely monitor how this acquisition unfolds. The potential impact on the MMA landscape extends beyond the scope of individual fighters and promotions. It could reshape the industry’s balance of power, creating a new dynamic that challenges the dominance of the UFC.

The Future of Bellator

As PFL takes the helm, the future of Bellator hangs in the balance. Will PFL’s acquisition provide the necessary resources and strategic direction for Bellator to grow and thrive? Only time will tell. Bellator’s reputation and legacy within MMA will be shaped by the decisions made by PFL’s leadership and their ability to maintain the organization’s unique identity.

Bellator’s Potential Gains:Challenges Ahead:
Access to PFL’s financial resources for expansionAdapting to potential changes in promotion format
Increased exposure and opportunities for fightersMaintaining Bellator’s individuality and brand identity
Potential for higher-profile events and collaborationsEnsuring a smooth transition under new ownership

The PFL Bellator partnership marks a pivotal moment in the MMA landscape. While the acquisition presents exciting possibilities for both organizations, it also poses challenges that need to be navigated for the partnership to be successful. The coming months will offer valuable insights into how PFL’s acquisition impacts Bellator and whether it can position itself as a strong competitor to the UFC.

Reflecting on PFL’s Acquisition of Bellator

The acquisition of Bellator by PFL has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of MMA, leaving fans and industry experts intrigued about what lies ahead. With PFL at the helm, Bellator’s future is poised for significant changes, as decisions made under PFL’s ownership will shape the way the organization is remembered.

This strategic move has sparked discussions regarding the potential shift in power dynamics within the industry. As PFL and Bellator join forces, industry insiders are analyzing the impact of this acquisition on the sport as a whole. Will PFL’s ownership enable Bellator to rise as a strong competitor to the UFC? Only time will tell.

As the future unfolds, the partnership between PFL and Bellator will be closely monitored. Fans eagerly await PFL’s vision and plans for growth as they contemplate the implications on Bellator’s operations, brand, and the talented roster of fighters. This acquisition undoubtedly sets the stage for a new era in MMA, opening doors to exciting possibilities for both organizations.

he is the founder chairman and co-owner of the professional fighters League there he is Don Davis how are you let’s
hug it out thank you so much Don wow I waited six and a half years for this I
only started the company to get here it’s amazing it’s amazing what a day what a day great for fans great day for
Fighters great day for MMA what is it like now that it’s out there the world knows what you’ve been working on and
we’re going to talk about the timeline here but just the day how it’s feeling how it’s coming together for you well as
a founder of a company you always go back to day one mhm and day one people
said this whole season format thing ain’t going to work I was one of those
UFC’s an 8,000 PB gorilla hundreds of companies have tried so on a day like this you just
think another chapter right you know our first goal is to be number two that was
really our first goal check we did that and now our next goal is with new assets
and new capabilities and great Fighters how can we become co-leader so kind of as an entrepreneur you’re never ever done so
you never really sit back and say instead you say what’s next and so what’s next for us
is okay number two check now let’s go try to be Co co-leader so when did this
journey start the acquisition of Bellator how long ago did it did it commence we first called paramont
January this year okay so it’s been a did you call them because you knew they were on the market or or no okay how did
it go down so I think they first started to devast assets at paramont overall in the spring so we really called them
earlier then call it their corporate activity okay spring of this year or last year they started spring of this year so we really started in January of
this year and we called them for the same reason I’ve talked about publicly 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 the product and pfl great vision pfl great
capability pfl done great so far but we need more and better athletes and
there’s only one company that at one time could put us on equal footing with
UFC that was Bellator we were getting more than our fair share of free agents
four or five a year right we were never losing our top fighters never lost one
but we weren’t getting there fast enough and so I called them to say that was the big once in a company move that
overnight we could have a roster and quality on par and on stature with you
overse so how can we get that done that was the reason for making the call okay and how were the negotiations slow slow yeah January it’s
almost uh December so 11 months year yeah why so slow um to me Shakespeare
alls well that ends well so I try but you you know big companies take time big
companies have to figure out what they want to do um and then also light kind mergers take time you know I’ve bought a
lot of companies of which we’re an MMA company they’re an MMA company so I think between big company and a like kind company things just take a while
obviously we know that Showtime is no longer in the sports business did you get any sense as to why they wanted to
sell Bellator no and and I don’t want to speak too much for them but I
think you know big companies always have to prioritize and this just didn’t become a priority for them okay um but I
think what they saw with PF was the opportunity to be part of a leading company going forward so this was a
stock deal not a cash deal there were small minority owning going forward so instead they
said boy we don’t want to really sell low we want to sell low and have an opportunity to make it high and so
therefore a deal was made okay so when you say they you mean Paramount is now a small minority owner of the pfl
interesting okay so you didn’t have to actually exchange any cash in this deal what a deal what percentage small okay
10% can’t say anything okay fair enough uh that’s a good deal for you would you agree great great deal for us you’re
happy very happy um initially was there talk of money being exchange or was it always this type of it was always this
type of deal that’s fantastic um and so when did it actually become finalized
obviously not this morning right we find out this morning well like when was it an actual deal just got finalized Saturday afternoon you’re kidding
Saturday afternoon holy smokes was there ever a point where you thought it might not happen sure when most
recently oh several times you know um I always got great advice from colen pal
he was on the board of America online when I worked there and he used to tell stories what a flex by the way to just drop and but he was obviously telling
him about war something much more serious in business but he would talk about at night when you thought you were
going to die and you’d wake up in the morning and you were there and you’d feel great and you’d have a cup of
coffee and the sun would come up deals always get done right after they get the worst they
blow up and then they get done interesting that happens once or twice I’ve done hundreds of deals as a deal guy in my life and I kind of think about
it that way as like colen pal was talking about those disaster times you know that just before it’s dark that’s
when you’re almost done and that happened a couple times here um I had heard and I mentioned on the show that there was some talk about not running
Bellator 301 because Paramount didn’t want to pay for it and they wanted to for lack of better term like dump it in
your lap and it going back and forth did that ever come close ancient history okay but our well
our main focus to focus on the go forward is we have a vision for a reimagined Bellator what does that mean
when you talk about in the press release um for fans that have liked Bellator they’ll still like
it but for us the pfl has always been meritocracy and transparency as you know
the season format win and go home I mean win Advance lose and go home there’s a place for a one-off event product much
like the UFC where Matchmaker can come in and fans really want to see Ariel and Don fight yeah well in the season that
may never happen right because we don’t make the fights at the pfl the fighters make the fights the Bellator brand in
the pfl portfolio will stand for one-off event product okay so we’ll have eight events a year we call it the Bellator
International Champion series I’ll come back to why is that these are one-off event products so think of it as the
one-off event product from the pfl platform so whether you’re a Bellator fighter or pfl fighter you’re all now
pfl Fighters interesting you’re all in the pool okay certain Fighters like to
take one of our own fighters Showtime Pettis you know what that season product
wasn’t great for him he’s probably better fighting twice a year on a one-off event just to take one of our
own fans love him he can get ready for that The Season’s too hard at this stage
of his career that season’s the toughest test in MMA he’d probably be great on that product so whether you’re a
Bellator fighter or pfl fighter we talk to managers and Fighters and say what’s
what’s the best product for you and what’s the best product for those fans you’ll either fight twice a year on the
Bellator International Champion series or you’re fighting The pfl League season your choice you know one or the other
the Bellator belts will still be at so the Champions remain Champions remain and they’re at risk on the Bellator
International Champion series pfl League Seasons still exactly what it was those
products will both run during the year so we have two big signature products
okay um we also have the pfl Challenger Series you know pfl International leagues but two big signature products
now pfl the company will run Bellator our media operations our ad Salesforce
our business capabilities we’ll rebuild a lot of that but the product and the
brand we will Revitalize more technology little bit better production and mostly International
cities big demand internationally you even mentioned earlier on your show yeah UFC hasn’t tapped into all that
International demand um so we’ll do probably six or maybe seven of those eight shows outside the US where almost
all The pfl League season is in the US okay U mostly Europe or even no I would say all over I would say at least half
of those eight four of those eight would be in Europe but I I think you there’s big demand in Latin America big demand
in the Far East okay where will those fight those fights those events air we
will announce that in January one thing that Bellator unfortunately not their fault they’ve moved around so much last
3 years in terms of media distribution under paramont there wasn’t a consistent home for fans we’ll get them a
consistent us home and consistent International homes but it’ll be premium and it’ll be mostly free just like pfl
we’ve always been on you know ESPN in the US and 20 Media Partners so the majority of the product is broadcast and
streamed that’s what we’ll do with Bellator so there was once a period many moons ago where uh zua owned wec and UFC
and wc was on versus had its own TV deal and UFC was on Spike TV is it possible
that Bellator has its own TV deal separate okay is that likely is that what’s going to happen it’s likely really okay interesting um last time you
were on I asked you about the state of your deal uh because uh the event this Friday at least as of right now is the
last one under the current um you know uh agreement with ESPN do you have an update on that deal um I’ll give you the
same update that deal is done and and we’ll announce it in two weeks after the Championship to any particular reason
why champion okay sure don’t want to you can only have so much news in one week right um
but uh you know big news today obviously Bellator big news Friday championship and then we’ll get to the business of 2024 and and now it’s called is there a
belor deal done no no okay no is it possible that the deal that you are
signing with the pfl that belor will be rolled into that or are you looking for that makes business sense right to have
a a separate Revenue stream with another network if possible Right the NBA has three Media Partners sure the NFL has
nine we’re just little pfl but we’ certainly like to have two or three to give fans more access and give the brand
more promotion all the fighters that are currently under contract with belor do you know the number off the top of your
head yeah yeah 210 210 are all of those coming over all of them are coming over
okay part of what we did and obviously it would have been better for pfl to only take certain Fighters sure we
thought it was better for the sport and better for those fighters to take them all so every fighter will at least start
with the season now over time just like the pfl we’ll upgrade the rosters so we’ve upgraded 40% year-over-year at pfl
MH so those who you know don’t win or don’t perform or or fans don’t respond
to likely won’t be there over time but everybody we wanted to take and everybody when wanted to give a shot you
know this was you know a rough time in the industry for Bellator and we wanted to bring over not only all the fighters
but all the employees and everybody wants to be part of this new Mission come on over okay so uh I’m happy you
said that because um as you may know a lot of these employees a lot of them are great great people who I’ve had the
pleasure of working with for over 10 plus years lovely people hardworking people and a lot of them have been left
in the dark unfortunately uh didn’t know that this was even coming out this morning you know uh what can you say to
them they’re probably watching this right now do all of them have a job do they have to reapply for their jobs what
is the status of their employment yeah we sent them a note this morning the same time we you know they were informed
that every one of them are welcome to come part of the new company and we’ll talk to them um the week after the
Championship next week um they there won’t be Bellator company
and there won’t be a pfl company there’s one company so we want them to join our one company in roles that we’ll talk to
them about but there are 21 employees of Bellator just as there 210 Fighters is
that it it’s just 21 21 holy smokes pfl only has 52 employees wow okay we play pretty big on TV run a pretty tight
organization um but everybody will have a role should they want one the big thing
is do you want one you know and do you want to be part of the new Mission um you know what we’re doing is different
than what other people are doing in the industry you know we’re we’re more Innovative um we think different we work
pretty hard um that’s how we got to where we are but we hope that they all come and we hope they’re all excited about this Mission okay I I would
imagine that is music to a lot of their ears um why you know these eight events that you’re talking about the one-offs
because you are the pfl right that’s the brand you care most about why not just call them the pfl international series
why are you keeping the Bellator brand alive yeah first thing I want to say is look as’s an AR I don’t know we don’t
have all the answers okay right there’s some things that we try that don’t work and then there’s some things we try that are home runs right so we try to come up
with what we think is the best thing for consumers in this case fans all the time we always start fan first fighter first
that tends to make the most money but that doesn’t mean you’re right all the time right right right so we believe that the pfl stands for
meritocracy and transparency the Bellator product is a one-off event product so it’s different
the Bellator also has a Following over 12 years so we think if we keep those
two concepts together that’s a pretty big opportunity in the market space that from the professional fighters league is
the Bellator brand and that is eight great oneoff events every year where we
matchmake regard where the fighters or from Bellator or pfl or we recruit them from UFC so we thought that was a great
opportunity to keep that brand and Revitalize that brand and have it stand for oneoff events that’s our belief also
in the business Market there are Media Partners that like that brand and there
are commercial partners that can’t get an opportunity with pfl or with
UFC so that’s what we’re going to try I know a lot of people said 10 months
Strike Force right two years this wrestling promotion this could last one year this
could last forever as entrepreneurs we don’t want to be right we want to win
right we think this is a winning idea um but ultimately the fans tell us what’s a
winning idea the difference we have often times with UFC is UFC wants to be right we want to win and so when the
fans tell us like pfl Champions versus Bellator Champions are seven Bellator people
gonna win are five pfl people gonna win is it goingon to be four3 I don’t know and I don’t care
right that’s a fight I want as a fan that’s the fight they want so of course that’s what we announced on day one of
the announcement so if we stay call it fan Centric fighter first pfl will
become a co-leader be enough money for everybody so this idea pfl Champions versus Bellator Champions that would be
seven I think right you have seven um that would have to be before the season starts right so the ones who are Crown
Champions on Friday correct yes ideally we’d like to make it in the first quarter because the season starts in
April and we’re going to try to launch the reimagined Bellator in March so we’d love to do that event in February if we
could now barring health of all the fighters because we want that to be the best card possible but we’d love to do
that in February if we could do you have a date yet no we don’t location uh we’re talking to people and we have 10 of
dates and 10 of people but nothing to announce yet we hope to be able to announce it before Christmas so I might be getting in the weeds here but you
know like two of the best Champions on the Bellator roster are champions of weight classes that you don’t have in
pfl Johnny eblin patchy mix it’s unfortunate what happens there they’re just left out yeah so there it wouldn’t
be legitimate right you so of course they’re going to they could fight fight on the Champions series of Bellator some
of them may even make our pay-per-view cards next year even higher elevation you know the nanu card um for example
the fight I want to see the most I heard a all the discussions on one of the matchups I’ve been wanting to see this
Kayla Harrison Chris cyborg fight I was a little baby so that might be on the
pay-per-view next year the pfl pay-per-view super fights which remember the biggest biggest biggest fights we do
two a year are those Pay-Per-View fights okay so think of it as there’s one pool of Fighters we have all this creativity
now where we have 30% of our roster ranked in the top 25 of the world
same as UFC that is the available creativity to give to fans how do we put
that roster together in great products some will be in The League season and if
we do that the ranking for The League season next year if you took an average fight card would be
40 UFC average product non- pay-per-view is 70 just to this is fight Matrix to
put the quality of we put together this year it would have been 80 in the pfl think of how good that would be so
the creativity of what we can put together now for fans is astounding how will we mix and match that that how will
we program that we’ll learn over time and mostly we’ll listen so this pay-per-view that you’re talking about
this pay-per-view series that would be an addition to a Bellator pfl card like a Bellator pfl card will be a regular
card and there will still be like another higher tier well remember yeah next year we’re going to do two pfl pay-per-view super fights that’s where
Jake fights where Francis fights right and that’s an addition because I mean we’re always going to have those two okay but a pfl Bellator super Fight Card
feels pay-per-view worthy no that could be its own pay-per-view next year interesting okay uh do you have an update on Francis will his next fight be
for pfl because I know you said it could either be first quarter or last quarter the same two things I told you last time
with transparency one we don’t know um other than he will fight with pfl in
2024 um we don’t know if it’s first or last quarter and I still think that it will be a mixed rules fight and I still
think Deontay Wilder is the most likely opponent that would be unbelievable um I
think the second and third options are much less compelling you know so we don’t want to force those options in
order to get in q1 who are they much less compelling okay right you asked me this last time um
but 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 what we’re working with them on now and so uh Deontay just being added to this February 23rd card excuse me December
23rd card does that change the possibility or I think it changes the timing not the possibility okay
interesting what about Jake so Jake um was always Q4 okay because for him to
get good in his standards for an MMA fight that’s legitimate worthy he says
he needs that year he started training a month ago in the smart cage you know down at his home so I think that is
October December 2024 the NS team was very upset after your comments last time
yes they were they were yes uh would you like to try to fix that relationship whatever the relationship is well I
think if they watch my entire comments they’d be less upset which started with he’s a people’s Champion we respect Nate
he accepted that fight the fans would love that fight and we would love to have him do that fight and we’re offering him more money than other
people because that’s respect so I think that if they listen to the whole comments then they would be much more
pleased than they were with the edited comments yes you think it could happen you know the one thing
about Nate or Fighters or aurs they’re their own men right they do what they
want to do Nate will do it when he wants to do it um so I’m just trying to create
a canvas that were open for business it’s like the old Motel 6 we’ll leave
the light on right so I just want to leave the light on and I want to say here’s 15 million here’s Jake we have
all the infrastructure pfl and we’re easy to work with dink the lights on is it 15 now I thought it was 10 said 10 to
15 okay I like that well I’m just you know just let them know there are ranges there there’s a higher end of the range
and a lower end of the range seems like a great deal beep the lights on okay right I I love the idea of Harrison
fighting cyborg is Harrison’s deal done at the end of the year she is but we
have understandings and I’m pretty confident she’ll have a new deal okay what about Chris cuz I know like
publicly you and Chris have kind of I don’t want to say battled but you know difference of opinion is she going to
come on board yeah she’s under a long-term deal okay so she has to yes she’s under long-term deal and I always
separate um you know public personas from reality we’ve had good breakfast
together you did yes of course recently you know six months ago okay yeah and um
and I think it’s interesting I’m so supportive of our fighters in pfl
well now she’s one of our Fighters so I think one of the perceptions was always you are so in Kayla’s
Corner well now I’m in everybody’s corner I’m in everybody’s corner right so now we got you know 260 fighters of
which I support them I’m a fighter I fight to build this company so I know what it is to fight I know what it is
for people to say you suck no a thousand times that won’t work I’m going to kick
your ass I know what that’s like I get that every day so I’m very defending of them and very
much um additive to giving them an opportunity so I think a lot of what came from Chris was her sensing that
whole support and defending of Kayla when she was not part of pfl so I think now everything will all be good uh after
her last fight she had a face off with a young woman named leam McCord who has a great uh backstory uh Leah actually
texted me this morning saying can you please ask Don if I’m still going to get my title shot but I I said I don’t know if you’ll know the answer to that but I
promised her that I would ask her this I I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is everybody has more
opportunity today MH um there will be three times more events in our combined
company next year than everybody had this past year we’ll have 32 events in
the combined company next year across five different franchises so more opportunities bigger opportunities so if
you’re a fighter today is absolutely the best day for you how will you determine who goes where ultimately we’ll discuss
with them and their managers okay so there could be a btor fighter who’s like hey you know what I like this pfl tournament idea or% I expect half what
if a pfl fighter says I like this 100% okay um nobody none of us are good at
our jobs when we’re not happy none of us so within reason I want everybody to be
happy that’s my goal because that way they perform better and they stay longer
it’s why we’ve never lost a fighter it’s why Francis came here why Jake came here listen respond custom deal right
happiness so everybody at Bellator today has spoken so highly of being at
Bellator I want him to speak so highly about being at pfl in the exact same way um we didn’t get to where we are by
being anything but a great company for employees for Fighters for business partners so I would hope that within
three months they say the exact same thing this is just as good but better
and so part of that will be listening and and showing them the different opportunities we fully expected half the
fighters will move to The pfl League season they’ll see that as a better opportunity for them and I bet half will
stay and call it the pfl International Champion series and one of the real reasons we did this bfl International
Champions series was opportunity it’s costing us a lot of money to do that
that is not awesome for us right away we lose money doing that right away it was
important to create opportunities for Fighters and important to build a new product we’ve been building pfl six
years well we get increasingly better economics now we’re starting over with
this new product so it’ll take us a couple years to do better we think in the long run that’s good but that’s investment by us and that’s commitment
by us and I think Fighters will increasingly see that just as pfl Fighters when I go to an event they know
what I’ve been doing since the last event it’s freaking hard work right and so I think they know and respect what
we’re doing just like what they’re doing and now that you have all these assets is there a new parent company name is it
all like you know how zua now it’s still professional fighters like Inc okay right and we just have the different
fighting Brands uh they were in the midst of a $1 million tournament for their lightweight division will that
conclude I don’t know the answer to that um you know I’m always honest about what we don’t know I I don’t know if it’s
good to finish that up I don’t know if it makes sense to finish that up something we’ll look at and we’ll tell everybody by the end of the year okay so
who is the new face of Bellator we don’t have that yet cuz we haven’t Ted talk with you know Scott and Mike and the whole team um but we’ll know that before
Christmas also you you will make that determination I know you have talked to Scot what’s your feeling on the
likelihood of him coming over I don’t know I don’t know I would let 5050 or no I wouldn’t even you would you like for
him to come over I would like for him to come over you would like for him to remain the yes of course the man at Bellator and we had we had a huge meal
to serve yeah right we don’t have enough people man in the kitchen absolutely man we are all full out when’s the last time
you spoke to him well I’ve texted with him this morning okay yes okay and what about Mike Hogan because I always would
refer to Mike as sort of like the AL Heyman of MMA if you get the reference he’s behind the scenes he text it with
Mike this morning absolutely okay so what’s what’s his status with the company because he’s sort of like the heartbeat of the company I expect Mike
to come over and I hope Mike absolutely there’s a there’s a spot for all these people absolutely okay I think the
fighters would like to hear that as well absolutely and and would you let them kind of run it or does it have to all
like if he if if Mike Hogan or Scott cooker says we need to finish this tournament this $1 million tournament are you open to that or is it ultimately
the buck stops with you and the look ultimately what’s best for the company and we’re all now one company and all
these Fighters are one pool of Fighters so some of these Fighters going to move to the season some of these Fighters are
going to move to our new product so that’s what we’re all here to decide is what’s the best overall for the company
going forward and that is those are things we talk about but at the end of the day unlike other companies we’re
very collabortive and once again we only focus on the fans and then we only focus on the fighters
and we never really once we do that get into too many disagreements uh a staple of the uh the pfl product are the
uniforms I have strong feelings on the uniforms you don’t like the uniforms I despise the uniforms listen I everything
you’re doing I listen to the show I love everything you’re doing there’s nothing I hate more because Fighters need to be unique they have to have their
personalities Mike Tyson walked out all black yes Chuck Liddell walked out with ice shorts Tor had the Fire pfl doesn’t
do this will Bellator do they did do this they let the fighters wear with it will they now have to wear uniforms yeah
look let me go further when you have different brands and different products they all have indigenous Dimensions to
them they all have their own elements Bellator will have elbows those are
oneoff that’s a one-off event product pfl League season doesn’t have elbows why that can’t work for the health when
you have to fight four times in eight months that can work in a one-off a vent product where you fight twice a year M
this is a league they’re uniforms just like the NBA right this isn’t a league this is a one-off event product you
could wear what you want so focus on this is a brand this brand stands for something very different within our
portfolio of pfl Inc and so I think you’ll see the rules follow accordingly
you’ll see the uniforms follow accordingly when you start thinking about it that way it all makes sense and
the fans will say I get it but certain things that we do that people really like they’ll be more technology here
it’ll be easier to understand and follow here um the show will be a little bit brighter you know we use more lights and
more angles so certain things are overall good and then each one of these events we want to have more meaning which is
why they’re all going to have two co- Mains that are for belts so every eight events you’ll know what it stands for
two titles on the line every single event both co-s so we’re going to try to
also bring structure and meaning to that series you know much more than why is this happening you know year um so when
we say reimagine we really do mean reimagine when we say revitalized we really mean
revitalized we didn’t say start over right we’re going to take what’s good and we’re going to improve where it can
be improved new logo refresh logo probably you know just like people refresh logos all the time
okay um one thing that uh I think the fans were wondering and maybe you don’t know the answer but I’m just I’m hitting
you with everything because people are going to say so far I’m answering everything you’re doing a fantastic job and this is great um
broadcast team maral is the voice of Bellator would you like to see the broadcast team follow yeah and all this
I haven’t I haven’t talked about any elements of the product George Greenberg our executive producer fantastic we’ll
probably have you know separate production team just like we do for pfl Challenger Series just like we’re have a separate team for pfl pay-per-view
because all these have different voices they all have different remember there’s a pfl look and feel but they all have distinct voices and distinct elements to
them Bellator will have the same distinct voice what is that how do we develop that that’s all the work we have
to do in the next four months how close do you feel like you are now to the UFC I saw um a press conference recently
where Dana White was talking about 200 million 300 million clearly those numbers were wrong um and I think in In
fairness to him he was sort of fed that in the question but nevertheless he seemed somewhat dismissive of this asset
what are you buying here in your opinion you seem based on what I’m hearing here it feels like it’s a great deal you feel
very bullish on on what you just purchased how close do you feel like you are now to the
UFC everybody knows Dana well enough that he only dismisses things that worry him or else he just doesn’t
comment he didn’t comment on the pfl for four years because he wasn’t worried
he’s commented on the pfl a lot the last six months he worried um what
specifically worried him about Bellator is the metrics we put on the press
release 30% of that roster ranked in the 25 top 25 per fight Matrix rankings so
this is not Dana gets to rank his own guys Don’s ranking his own guys as you know there’s only one group that ranks
all fighters fight Matrix independently 30% of the UFC rosters top 25 ranked and
now our combined company of pfl and Bellator 30% the same now to UFC’s
credit if you look at top five in the world they still own the top five one through five soal pay-per-view cards we
couldn’t compete with them right now which is why we’re only going to have two and they have 12 right but if you
say I’m turning on TV on ESPN Saturday night or I’m going to tune in Friday night to watch his Bellator
International series or pfl our cards are going to be better better because
what they put on this year was ranked 70 and what we’re going to put on next year is ranked 40 that’s why he said I don’t know why
in gone screener anybody’s buying this because he’s smart and he knows
that UFC ain’t the NFL we’re not the XFL but he wants you to think that and it’s
just a matter of time before that starts to get more welln and we’re not number two we’re a
co-leader you don’t want that that’s what’s going on um you have a pay-per-view this Friday I’ve seen some
blowback from the fans on the price tag uh I’m sure you’ve seen this as well you’re you’re pretty connected online
it’s $49.99 on ESPN plus pay-per-view the main card prelims are just with the ESPN Plus subscription can you explain
why you chose that price tag first of all ESPN chooses price tag just as they
do for okay UFC do you have no say in this no okay um but I think it’s
appropriate okay so I would address it anyway I’m not hiding behind that um there’s six title fights plus Kayla
Harrison’s return those are seven of the biggest fights of the year I put that card up
against the best UFC card this year so I think the price Point’s
fantastic versus $80 versus $50 I think the thing I understand what fans are
saying is pfl’s new to pay-per-view hey I used to see this championship for free
now it’s $50 I understand that you know certain things over time that were free
you pay but I think they would say that at $40 or $39.99 it’s the price I didn’t
used to pay for this Championship so I understand that but I ask people check it out and you will
find it of Great Value people who bought it last year blown away as I said six title fights it’s like six Super Bowls
back to back to back most UFC’s ever had is three and normally only two plus kless return so I think it’s great
value and and I think the product itself will
will speak to those who get it uh I enjoy the pfl Europe product a lot in fact we have Dan Hardy coming up studio
right after you I texted Dan yeah you’ll cross paths here in a moment um do not
like the fact that you can’t watch it in America I know I asked you about this last time did any deal that you will make for 2024 and Beyond will we be
faced here in America with the same predicament or I hope not okay um we launched pfl Europe and we are launching
pfl mid East and we are this is going to launch in April of 2024 wow and we are
going to launch pfl Africa in April of 2025 so you’re going to have two more complaints unless I settle this two more
complaints unless I settle this um and obviously we’re building the Champions League of MMA where to your question
your comment with your with your Round Table earlier we’re trying to create a path a true global system MMA where you
fight in Africa you become the champion you move to the pfl league okay you fight in Europe you’re Champion you move
to the pfl league there’s a system in football you go to Pop Warner you go to high school you go to Alabama you go to
the NFL so there’s no system in MMA that’s bad for Fighters obviously but
it’s also bad for fans how do you start to follow people throughout their career that’s what we’re building at pfl so we
do want fans wherever they are to be able to see those products and so we’re trying to secure a Us distribution deal
where you can see all the leagues okay not just pfle Europe but pfl mid East
pfl Africa pfl Australia pfl Latin America so part of why we held off on
doing that deal was so fans didn’t have to go in the United States to more than one place so they could be fans of the
Champions League League of MMA and we hope to have that in early of 2024 not
just for the current ones but for future leagues cuz that would be super cool right that’s what we’re trying to pull off and what about for you uh this story
that I was talking about I I don’t know if you heard me talking about it but I’m pretty sure it’s it’s quite accurate 2016 you’re at your desk comes through
the wire UFC sold for 4.02 five billion you don’t know much about MMA at this point right if anything and you say holy
smokes you know where’s the competition if if this is 4 billion like what’s going on here and that’s where your
Journey Begins you end up buying World Series of fighting you have some investors you you give birth to pfl Etc
this is a crazy thing here we are seven years later and you’ve now purchased belor in fact I got a text from Jim bov
who’s the CEO of VOX media who said he used to work with you at a uh you know you’re an executive you’re you’re not a
fight guy per se now here you are you’re like playing a game of Risk you know like you’re taking up all these territories here is this like have you
had a chance to sit back and be like this is a crazy seven years and did you even expect all this in less
than 10 years to happen to you and and this idea that you came up with when you saw this Come Through the Wire well two
things one we’re all fighters right you’re a fighter
cameraman’s a fighter I’m a fighter are you fighting for love respect money to
pay off your house to impress your Dad we’re all fighters we’re all fighting for something you know just what do you
fight for well I fight to build companies so I spent 30 years 15 years
isn’t investor in 15 years as an entrepreneur but all 30 are building disruptive Innovative companies so I
started at americ online buil a company PRI of the Chicago Cubs right Chicago Cubs I youngest executive in baseball
youngest signed Sammy Sosa to his first deal back when wow so at age 29 you know
and and then started the Venture Capital firm with Steve case and Ted leanis and we did several companies that people
know of them sweet green Cava clear DraftKings sport radar scopely
all these companies are you know were pfl they were all middle school kids that went to college right um and so to
me what I’m fighting for is to create something Innovative that’s never been
done to build a business model around it they could become a lasting big
important valuable company that’s what I love doing and so for me this was just a
chapter of that and I just happen to see an MMA biggest fan base
which you know 650 million fans most underserved only 40 events from UFC but
nothing else and the fastest growing sport what is it’s only 25y old sport so
it reminds me when I went to America online in 1997 was only worth $4 billion and I had
an email but nobody else did the internet was just starting its growth so I go it’s kind of like MMA it’s super
mature to you CU you’re an Insider you’re like an MMA saat you know it’s like when I went to the internet but for
most people still a new sport right it’s still just going from Niche to mass and
just going to the high growth of its business cycle so I go that’s fantastic
you’re always looking for a big audience that’s underserved that just starting its monetization that needs more Global
competition so that’s what I saw and so I don’t do anything else for seven years
uh no other businesses I don’t do boo okay now after a year I left my own Venture Capital firm of which people
thought I was insane why do that couldn’t you can’t
build anything it’s too hard unless you’re all in so I have a great team Peter Murray CEO and Ray SEO and George
Greenberg fantastic team but having built several companies before you know
there’s an arc to doing it and and I didn’t think it would maximize unless I went an all in doing it but my partner
said hold on we’re quote at the top of the food chain handing out money so you’re a Chooser and now you’re going to
be a beggar of which I’ve called a thousand people asking for money you know over five years how hard is that by the way the way well if you really
believe in what you’re doing um it’s only medium hard okay but you know like in the Wall Street Journal
they say 100 people turn me down and I go when you get to a thousand call me
but if you really believe in it you love the challenge it’s almost like the
bodybuilders when you see them lift all that weight and you go man I couldn’t do that or my friend Carlos Silva who you
used to work with he just ran that huge Iron Man how’d he do that yesterday I couldn’t do that
if you love it the pain is worth it if you love it the pain is worth it so for
me the short answer answering your question from a little idea in my head
that one Monday to today the pain is worth it I go that’s
pretty cool look at this opportunity we’ve created for Fighters look at what we’ve done for fans look at the value
we’re creating and look at the industry that we’re evolving and innovating that’s pretty cool what have people in your your
opinion done wrong in the past the ones who have tried to nip at the UFC’s heels but ultimately failed what have they
done wrong that you are doing right in your opinion well you know ultimately other people will be the judge of that you
know more than us but I I would focus on three things one you know we innovated we did something different you know we
took a lot of arrows at the beginning you guys don’t get it the season won’t work and and to me the answer I always
give is I don’t like college basketball but I watch March Madness M I know what that is 16 versus one
underdogs stories Journeys format and that’s what I saw with MMA is if I could
make the sport fans love MMA I know the MMA fans love MMA already but if I can make the sport fans love MMA grow that
sport so I was number one we really innovated with a different format that brought more structure and more storytelling and and more understanding
to the Casual fan and number two is The credibility that we brought all in you
know my team the network of investors the network of Partners we approach approached it like the NBA would
approach it so it wasn’t just you know pure combat you know it was a lot of sports infrastructure and a lot of seriousness to it and number three also
is timing you know a lot of people were maybe a little bit early MMA was really crossing over to mass Market the
disicpline were you worried during the pandemic that this dream might die sure how close was it it’s not just that many
times yeah I don’t think there’s you know if you’ve read you know Phil Knight’s book which is the best or at
least four times that he’s weeks away from going out of business wow weeks and it’s Nike yeah and he’s worth
$40 billion um every single great company except like maybe Snapchat you
know we’re like hey man I’m I’m in a success in one day right you almost go out of business several times and um
it’s almost like King daa the roller coaster has a roll back you know you almost have these roll backs all the
time when you go I can’t believe it we were there how could this be happening we were there um so there have been
several times that me and my team we we said okay but on number two you say we
made it past number one on number three you say we didn’t die on number two you know so it’s like 128 Hours at movie our
arm is stuck we’re good to get off this mountain are we going to have to cut off our arm how are we going to get off this mountain and how are we to get down here
and live to fight another day uh what do you need to do as a brand to start selling more tickets because you know
you see that event on Friday the bellor event that was a pretty good house in Chicago I saw your event in Paris that was a phenomenal house but sometimes
these events and I understand why you do them the Atlanta ones they’re not big crowds totally right and that comes
across on television Y how do you change that look it’s a great question and from the very beginning you can’t do
everything as a company and we made the audacious bet to be Global right away so
fighters from 25 countries and broadcast Partners globally but as soon as you do that you
lose local Fighters selling tickets in local
areas you lose the Cedric Doom Bay Paris you lose what Bellator gets when they go to Ireland because we have The League
season there is no undercard right during The League season there’s no undercard so you have no
opport to put the Atlanta fighters in Atlanta M and because it’s Global we
really focus on the TV production not the ticket sales that’s where all the money is there’s more money at mola and
Indonesia than if I sell out Atlanta interesting so the the the season format
plus our real audacious goal to be a global Media company had tickets like
our fifth priority can’t do everything as a company you don’t have all those resources so that was really the answer
for the first three or four years so we weren’t even worried about it we just wanted enough tickets so that the TV
product was acceptable but what you see Cedric Dum sold out the 24th sold out for the
championship so we now need that muscle we’re now grown up enough that we need
that muscle so you’ll see us do more of that next year we have the fighters now that we can move around the product so
certainly belor that you’ll see us start to have those kind of 5 700 $900,000 Gates I think in in 2024 but that
historically has certainly been I don’t want to say by Design cuz we’d all like to have 5,000 tickets sold but we
accepted it because our strategies were elsewhere where’s the love for Canada my my my fellow Canadians no events in
Canada yet can we get I mean Olivia OB Mercy is one of your best fighters we’ve got to do it yes we’ve got to do it and
I think we’re going to have a big Canadian deal by the way really because the TV deals up as well with we have a big we had a lot of interest in Canada
we had we had three biders in Canada I know you’ll be happy to know yes um break some news for us where are we
going no but we will break news in fact I’m going to let Pete Murray break it with you cuz he personally did it he did it okay he did it he was so good and
will this all come at the same time all these big announcements so when around two week no two weeks after Thanksgiving
okay early December but we should be in Canada um because we do have you know Great
Canadian Fighters and we should do that is that uh like do you know everywhere that you’re going in 2024 no you don’t
what percentage you know like you know well we we have the we have the te schedule we don’t have the event
schedule yet we’ve got to build that after the TV schedule just got done a week ago wow okay do you know when your
first event of 2024 of any kind will be um we know The League season starts in April okay so we know that exact date
and you know Pete will come on here and announce all that with you but we don’t know yet we’re looking at early March to
start the Bellator International Champions series but we don’t have that date yet okay do you feel like you need
a a face Ella a Dana White a Don King a bob a promoter type I really enjoy
talking to you by the way you bring you bring a lot of excitement I was I was talking to uh another member of your
team and like the da Davis uh emergence as a character in the sport has been fun because you know I just had Frank Warren
on I love talking to people like that I love talking to people like you are you the new face like are you going to be the promoter are you going to be the guy
standing at the de telling us to watch on Friday night do you need that guy it’s an interesting question we’ve always viewed the pfl as the NBA so I
view myself more as Adam Silver um where the fighters are the stars LeBron is the
star sure um so we’ll see that if we need that going forward fighting’s a little different right you that guy the day yeah fighting could be a little
different so whatever we need going forward we’ll always do because as I said you know we are here to win and
we’ll make adjustments where we need to win but all of us are very very very much focused on the product and whatever
the product needs we’ll give it too uh I said at the beginning fascinating Day from a business standpoint exciting day
because of all the possibilities but I did say full disclosure a bit of a sad day as well and I say that because of
the history because I don’t know what the future is for the likes of Scott Koker and Mike Hogan Etc and also because I’m uh I’m very Pro fighter and
I like that they have places to negotiate with as opposed to one or two what would your response be to someone
like me who says that there is a sad component to all this one of my mentors you know Ted
leanis who you probably know really well um I use this phrase all the time
declare Victory Ted’s always optimistic and in fact his book is called the business of
happiness every situation is positive in the world of Ted leanis and I really
believe that and he uses the word at any moment declare Victory that’s what I
believe has happened today this is the best
outcome if you’re a Bellator fighter or your Bellator employee or an MMA fan
possible and they will see that in the coming weeks months and years this
creates more opportunity more and better product and more and better options and
we are glad to have done that at pfl this was good for us but all other options were bad uh meaning like they
could have all just been laid off right so I mean that would be the worst and I think some of them were fearful of that
I think you’ve given them a lot of Hope after today yes is there any that we didn’t touch on didn’t a detail a nugget
or two that you need to get out this is a great opportunity and I appreciate you told me the first time you’re were going
to come in studio would be to announce this We snuck one in after the enanu fight which was fun we sneak one in but
Zoom only Zoom only only so this has been a great honor I just think what’s fantastic is and I’ve always said the same thing UFC is a great company and
they invented this industry this is not about taking share or shifting share MMA is growing MMA is growing 10% a year
every other sport 2 to 3% they’re going to do well we’re going to just do really really well and I’m
excited to have my new teammates s Bellator I’m excited to have all our new Fighters propelling us forward and we’re
going to win the next time we’re on here when people laugh that we’re going to be a co-leader we’re going to be a
co-leader just like they laughed that we were going to be number two and we’re number two and so to me if you’re on the
new Bellator team if you’re on the new combined pfl team declare Victory where
are you in 5 years where would you like to be we’re the co-leader in MMA flat out but we do things different we think
different we innovate different um we don’t have Dogma we co-promote we give
Fighters opportunity we let them box we give them 50% pay-per-view share we think different and we’re the
co-leader they they do what they do fantastic we do what we do Market’s big
enough for two very very very big valuable companies that word co-promote is a very interesting word in MMA are you open to
the deals that they have with ryzen or other promotions or when you say co-promote you just mean pfl
Bellator no I mean we would do Jon Jones nanu right we would give them more
money I’d like Dan know run the show talk to the D you give fans what they
want it all works out he was asked about that recently and said it was the the dumb question of the night did you see that I saw that and I told him I said
there’s only three things in it for you one for the fans give them the fight
they want two for the sport really decide who’s number one and three make a lot of money for yourself will be the biggest pay for you of the year there’s
there’s nothing not in it for you except you don’t want to do it are you saying this privately to him or is that I put it out on Twitter yeah do you have a
relationship with him or anyone over there no no no no but yes we do have very good relationships between our team
and their team oh you do yes have you ever met Dana no but tons of respect and he’s he’s heard me say repeatedly there
is no MMA without him and uh and I think until recently they have high regard for
how serious we run the business what do you say until recently this Bellator
thing I thinking Francis thing is a yeah he got him a little ruffled right but it’ll all be great but for the most part
I think he has not taken shots of you guys have been no no it’s because look as an entrepreneur what they’ve done is
nothing short and miraculous and I would never say anything but positive stuff and we would
never do anything but compliment generate a creative stuff to the sport or the
fighters or the fans last thing and again thank you for this time I think you have to go to another interview
after this why should people watch on on Friday give us the Don Davis heart cell Friday pfl Championship the last of this
era right this this is sort of the closing chapter of this era before you start a gigantic 2024 and you know what
would be fun by the way can I give you an idea absolutely could we get some of those Bor guys to show up and be in attendance on Friday sit in the front
row I’ll invite them little Invasion I’m going to text right after this wear Bor shirts and say good idea I think it’s a good idea that would be fun oh my God
I’ll credit you yeah you need to sign Michael Venom page too he’s a free agent I don’t know if you’re no I thought he signed with UFC oh is that a done deal
well I saw TW news I saw saw some tweet on it anyway uh get a couple guys sitting in the front row why should they
watch on to me there’s there’s four fights that I love but they’re going to be different kind of fights one you got
to see Kayla come back I don’t need to say any more than that it’s her tuneup fight before cyborg you got
right you got to see that okay I love it I love it number two I don’t really do
the matchup so occasionally I can pick favorites Ray Cooper thei thiri has long been my favorite wow to see him go get
go against Derek and Ray Cooper yeah derck Brunson what in the heck is GNA happen there yeah and it’s an undercard
fight I love it Ray’s been out for 18 months cuz he made so much money he couldn’t stop surfing and gaining weight
in Hawaii what’s he going to do and Derrick’s coming in here thinking I’m going to beat the crap at everybody
I don’t know I got to see that fight number three
pinado is a real world Rocky he’s fighting on a $5,000 Fight
Card wow he was nobody wins the pfl Challenger Series yeah
undefeated knocks off all these guys Brendan and all of them he’s Rocky
except real so he’s fighting for a million dollars and he’s a $5,000 fighter so imagine if Kyrie
Irving game seven for a billion dollars because that’s the same multiplier on Kyrie Irvings we’d all watch Kyrie try
to shoot a free throw for a billion dollars that’s that’s that fight that starts a card and last OEM your Canadian
Boy versus Cash’s clay Cash’s clay very interesting guy
um you know brother died box for two years came back really had to take
shanee Bergos to the distance and OEM it couldn’t be more different fighter no
emotion all tactics so you have this this deep tactical fighter with his Wy
mustache who looks like a Canadian IBM copy salesman against Cashes Clay who
looks like a 1950s boxer all emotion I love it those are the four I want to see
I think there’s something there for everybody yeah we love the Canadian gangster here in to have his fanny pack right over there there it is Olivia o
Mercier so what a day congratulations mazov uh you you kept your word you came
in I think we answered everything right and if we didn’t have the fans ask you sure we’ll answer everybody and as I
said it’s a great day for the sport we’re excited to to give fans everything they want and more I wish you guys
nothing but the best pfl and belor are coming together perhaps the first event in March of 2024 we have some big
announcements still to come TV deal for pfl deal for Bellator uh all this stuff
I mean this is this is a lot of stuff giving us a lot to chew on in the holiday season so I appreciate that you thanks for having me very much thank you
so much Don Davis thanks for watching we appreciate it very much hey if you like this video give us the old thumbs up
subscribe as well you can get many more of these videos on the channel so please
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