Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a Regular Season, Playoffs and Championship format, today announced that the 2021 PFL Season will begin April 23 on ESPN2. The remaining Regular Season events will take place on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25. PFL will begin its 2021 season a month early as the league makes its anticipated return to action.
“We’re thrilled to announce an early start date for the 2021 PFL Season and we look forward to building on the positive momentum experienced in a historic first season on ESPN,” said PFL CEO, Peter Murray. “In 2021, the PFL will deliver an elevated, immersive, and interactive fan viewing experience incorporating expanded, real-time fighter data and analytics from our proprietary SmartCage technology, behind-the-scenes access, the return of ref cam, and more.
Our champions return looking to earn another title, while a fresh crop of exciting new fighters will challenge for the top spot in MMA. Additional contenders will be unveiled in the leadup to what we believe will be the biggest season in PFL history.”
The first three events of the Regular Season will be each fighter’s first chance to accumulate points toward a possible playoff berth. The second half will determine Playoff seeding, Championship title bragging rights, and a million-dollar prize. Dates for the Playoffs and PFL Championship will be announced at a later date.
The 2021 PFL Season will feature returning champions, including 2X Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison and Welterweight Champion Ray Cooper III, and exciting new contenders such as MMA superstar Rory MacDonald, lightweight’s Johnny “Hollywood” Case and “The Canadian Gangster” Olivier Aubin-Mercier, reigning Brave FC Featherweight Champion Bubba Jenkins, and more.
Professional Fighters League has quickly established itself as the No. 2 MMA company in the world with distribution on ESPN in the U.S. and to more than 160 countries via premium sports networks and platforms. The league has experienced tremendous YoY growth across digital channels* – 68% follower increase on Instagram, 30% total audience growth across digital and a 200% social engagement spike.
The domestic linear viewing audience was up 50% in 2019**, and the Championship on New Year’s Eve averaged 400,000 viewers**, with a peak of over 500,000***, a 96% YoY increase.