Lance Palmer has continued to compete for the PFL this year, but that doesn’t mean their past turmoil is behind them.
Last July, Palmer told MMA Fighting that he had requested his release from the league due to the cancellation of the 2020 PFL season in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite the league providing a monthly stipend for its fighters, Palmer was interested in booking at least one fight in 2020.
The two parties appeared to be at a standstill, and when the 2021 season was announced, Palmer remained on the roster. A two-time PFL champion, Palmer suffered his first loss in four years this past April when he lost a unanimous decision to former wrestling rival Bubba Jenkins.
Palmer next faces the undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev on Friday at PFL 6, and he needs a first-round finish to earn enough points to advance to the PFL postseason. Otherwise, his time with the league could be over.
“I don’t think it’s been repaired, to be honest,” Palmer said at PFL 6 media day on Tuesday when asked about his current relationship with the PFL. “I don’t think there was really an effort to repair it either. It’s not something I’ve dwelled on, but that’s something that will definitely come up if we do go into a negotiation to either extend or do a new contract.”
Should Palmer advance to the playoffs, there’s still a chance that he claims a third league championship and another $1,000,000 prize. As far as he knows, that would also cause his contract to roll over for one more season due to a champion’s clause.
But if his fight with Khaybulaev does mark the end of his PFL run, he knows he may have to consider taking his skills to another organization soon.
“Obviously, I make plans and I try to be as proactive as possible with things I can control,” Palmer said. “I believe this is the end of my contract as far as the seasons go, because the champion clause basically just extends it for the following year, which would have been last year technically, but it’s this season being the third season. Basically, going off of the contract after my 2019 season, so this is the last, I believe, season on my contract.
“We’ll see, they brought in a lot of people from other organizations recently, so I guess it just depends where their funds are and what they plan to do. Whether they decide to keep me here or if I go look elsewhere, I really don’t know. I guess that’s something that I’ll have to start looking into right after this fight and figure it out.”