Earlier this week on New Year’s Eve, the Professional Fighters League closed out its sophomore season with its 10th event of the year, the PFL Championships.
By and large, it was a satisfying event with Lance Palmer and Natan Schulte repeating as their respective divisions’ champions, along with Kayla Harrison making mixed martial arts history by winning the first Women’s Lightweight championship ever.
Despite the great card, there was a problem that marred the PFL’s 2019 season.
On multiple occasions this past year in the Professional Fighters League, scheduled contests were postponed due to fighters missing the maximum allowable weight for his or her division.
As the regular season wound to a close last August, Ray Sefo, president of the PFL, told MMAFighting.com:
“The way the rules [are] 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. Now if a guy comes into the PFL and he misses weight by like six pounds, he’s out completely.”
Fast forward to Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, just hours before the championship card, when Sherdog.com posted an interview with Professional Fighters League CEO Peter Murray.
Murray said, in part:
“At this point in time we don’t expect to make any changes in weight classes for next season. As it relates to the roster itself, 50 percent of the roster will be turned over and we’ll be bringing in new athletes.”
I have no problem whatsoever with the PFL bringing in new talent.
Case in point: The promotion will welcome Rory MacDonald, a former stalwart of Bellator MMA, to the PFL Welterweight division in 2020.
Bringing in new talent is paramount for MMA and combat sports promotions to try to increase the potential audience.
In my opinion, one change that the PFL should make for next season is its schedule.
Last season’s Professional Fighters League regular season schedule ran from May 9 to Aug. 8, with each weight class getting two fights in that span.
The problem with the way the PFL’s schedule is formatted currently is that it yields to a very quick turnaround for the fighters.
Think about it:
You fight in May or early June and after the fight, you hardly get time to heal.
Before you know it, boom, it’s training camp time again for a fight in July or early August.
With the quick turnaround, you get issues with fighters who are trying to quickly cut weight and fights being called off—with opponents getting an automatic three points in the standings, but possibly still missing the playoffs due to other results in the weight class not going their way.
In all fairness to the fighters, the PFL should seriously consider altering its schedule to avoid issues with weight cuts.
I believe that the PFL should start the season in late March or early April and the fighters should have eight weeks to adequately try to heal from the first fight and be given time to train after healing.
In keeping with that timeframe, the second fights would be at the end of June or early July and the fighters should again be given eight weeks to heal and train after healing.
The regular season would then end in August, preserving an October playoffs schedule.
Championships would still be held on New Year’s Eve.
By adjusting the schedule to the season and allowing fighters enough time to heal, the PFL will solve its weight cut issues.
Only time will tell, however, if this is put into practice.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.