World Series of Fighting has become the Professional Fighters League.
The new promotion was officially announced Wednesday morning and will launch in January 2018, per a press release.
Much like the International Fight League of yesteryear, the PFL boasts the fact that it’s the “world’s only mixed martial arts league.” However, unlike the IFL, the new PFL will not consist of teams.
The inaugural season will run for ten months and will feature seven different weight classes, though, officials declined to comment on which specific weight classes will be featured.
Each fighter will compete in three regular season fights. Those with the best records will move on to a playoff and then the championship round. It’s unclear at this time what would happen if fighters end up with identical regular-season record.
The seven tournament champions will win a one million dollar purse. An additional three million dollars will be shared between other regular season and playoff competitors, but specific payout details weren’t immediately disclosed.
While the inaugural season is set to officially kick off in January, sources say the promotion is currently scheduled to hold at least four more events in 2017. At this time, those dates are: June 30, Sept. 30, Oct. 30 and Nov. 4.
The organization’s NBCSN TV deal expires at the end of 2017 and, according to sources, they do not currently have a new deal in place with the network or any other for 2018. Those talks are currently underway with several media outlets, including NBC, sources say.
Promotional officials also wouldn’t comment on what will become of current WSOF champions Blagoy Ivanov (heavyweight), Jon Fitch (welterweight), Justin Gaethje (lightweight), Andre Harrison (featherweight) or Bekbulat Magomedov (bantamweight). Gaethje recently became a free agent, however, he has not signed a new deal with any promotion just yet. It’s also unclear how many current WSOF fighters will be brought over to the new PFL. Currently there are approximately 100 fighters under contract with the now former WSOF.
The new promotion is co-founded by Washington D.C. businessmen Donn Davis, Russ Ramsey, and Mark Leschly, who purchased WSOF earlier this year. According to The Washington Post, Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mysitcs, as well as members of the Lerner family, who own the Washington Nationals, are also investors.
Former WSOF employees Ray Sefo and Carlos Silva will continue with the new group. Sefo will serve as president of fighting operations, while Silva is the president of event production and business operations.
WSOF launched in November 2012 and held 35 events, as recently as last month.