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PFL president Ray Sefo addresses weight-cutting issues plaguing the league in season 2

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Ronny Markes (WSOF)
Ronny Markes
World Series of Fighting

The Professional Fighters League playoffs will be set following Thursday night’s event featuring heavyweight and light heavyweight fighters but another bout was scrapped from the card due to an athlete failing to make weight.

Ronny Markes came in over the light heavyweight limit for his fight against Dan Spohn, which not only cancelled the fight but cost the Ohio native the chance to bolster his chance of making the playoffs by earning a finish that would earn him more points.

With a walkover win, Spohn gets three points along with his show and win money but now he has to wait until the rest of the card plays out to find out if he’s getting a spot in the playoffs, where the grand prize is $1 million going to the winner.

PFL season 2 has seen a number of similar situations play out where some fighters have failed to make weight, which then puts the burden on their opponents who are left without a fight. Because PFL works on a point system to make the playoffs as well as the seeding for the tournament, athletes are rewarded for finishes, which gives them a much better chance of making the final cut.

PFL president Ray Sefo understands the frustration felt by the fighters and the fans when athletes miss weight, especially with some of the situations that have unfolded during the second season this year.

“The way the rules with us, once you miss weight, especially if it’s your first regular season fight, you’re pretty much out until the second regular season fight,” Sefo explained when speaking to MMA Fighting.

“Now if a guy comes into PFL and he misses weight by like six pounds, he’s out completely. I get that guys are going to miss by a pound or maybe a pound-and-a-half here or there, but six pounds is ridiculous. So if it’s a scenario like that, he’s completely out.”

Sefo believes part of the problem athletes have faced in the PFL this season is a lack of preparation to deal with multiple weight cuts over a relatively short period of time.

The PFL season started back in May and the finals will take place on New Year’s Eve in December, which means the fighters who make it all the way through the playoffs will be cutting weight at least four times over a seven-month period.

“These fighters [have to understand] that they have to cut weight earlier than they normally do because throughout the season, say the guy who gets to the championship, you’ve got to fight four fights to get to the championship. The season isn’t long at all so you’ve got to understand how to cut weight earlier and how to maintain [your weight],” Sefo said.

“I think they’re trying to stay heavy but they are fighting every eight weeks so it’s one of those things where these guys have to understand with PFL how to make weight.”

Because of weight-cutting issues this season, the PFL will put a few fighters into the playoffs who didn’t even get a chance to compete yet.

This season saw former UFC fighter Ramsey Nijem miss out on his first fight when his opponent was forced to drop out just days before the event. Nijem secured three points for his walkover victory. Then for his second fight, Nijem failed to make weight but the way things played out in the lightweight division, he still earned a spot in the playoffs.

Sefo admits that’s an unfortunate byproduct of the rules the organization has put into place but that may happen from time to time when you’re dealing with a strict points system that determines the playoffs in each division.

“Look at Daniel Pineda, he was an alternate that stepped in when one of the guys got hurt and we didn’t get to watch him fight because his opponent missed weight but now he’s in the playoffs,” Sefo said. “So that’s the thing with the season, sometimes it’s the luck of the draw and some of these guys have been fortunate that they haven’t fought yet but they are in the playoffs.

“But those are the rules and that’s how the season plays out. It’s still exciting. I personally don’t like guys going into the playoffs without having to fight but it is what it is.”