ESPN Signs Exclusive Rights Deal With MMA League PFL

Professional Fighters League differs from UFC by providing a regular season, playoffs and championship format

Last Updated: February 25, 2019 @ 2:43 PM

ESPN has signed an exclusive rights deal in the United States with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a mixed martial arts competitor to the UFC.

All 10 PFL events will air live across ESPN2 and the company’s streaming platform, ESPN+, with up to three hours of exclusive action live on ESPN+ and up to two exclusive hours live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. TSN (The Sports Network) has the rights to the PFL in Canada.

Unlike the UFC, which ESPN also airs, the PFL features a more traditional regular season, playoffs and championship format.

Six five-hour PFL regular season events will take place primarily on Thursday nights from May to August, and three PFL playoff events will take place in October, with coverage also carried across ESPN+, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. PFL Playoff events will feature the top eight fighters in each of the competition’s six weight classes attempting to fight-and-win twice in the same night to advance to the PFL Championship.

The season culminates with the PFL 2019 Championship on New Year’s Eve with world title fights in every weight class live exclusively on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Winners of each title bout will be crowned PFL World Champion in their weight class and earn $1 million.

“We are pleased to add the PFL to our combat sports roster. This unique and innovative competition structure provides MMA fans with a great option to see some of the best fights and content in the sport,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “ESPN is the home of combat sports, and we look forward to delivering thrilling live PFL events and powerful storytelling to fans, across all platforms.”