PFL Acquire Bellator – What It Means for Irish MMA
Exclusive interview as PFL acquire Bellator.
Less than 24 hours after the news broke that PFL have acquired Bellator, Pundit Arena sat down with PFL SVP of International James Frewin to speak about what this major news means for PFL as a global organisation, as well as what the future holds for the promotion in Ireland.
‘It was a big moment for us, especially within the context of Ireland because Bellator has been such a strong promotion in Ireland,” Frewin told Pundit Arena.
“I think it’s really interesting, the Bellator brand equity around the world is strong. It was a massive day and we felt that, and it feels really positive.”
‘The acquisition of Bellator is an exciting moment for global mixed martial arts, but I think it’s particularly exciting in Ireland because there’s so many great Irish athletes that sit on the Bellator roster.
“I also think that there’s a number of great Irish athletes that are sitting in title contention right now in Bellator.
“So, you’re definitely going to see us back and I think you’ll see us back multiple times.’
James also spoke about the importance of the future of the Bellator roster and staff being secure: “I think the fighters are now more assured that there’s a positive future and I think the fans are excited, and I think even the staff at Bellator who were worried about their jobs are relieved as well, so everyone’s happy!”
It was also announced yesterday, as part of the acquisition, that PFL will host a “Mega-Event” which will see PFL champions compete against Bellator champions in 2024.
“That will be a pretty dreamy matchup in terms of card, and I don’t think anyone else has done it really other than Rizin and Bellator in Japan, but that was a different scenario.
“I don’t think we ever saw StrikeForce vs UFC or WEC vs UFC, you saw their champions obviously graduate and compete in the UFC and the like, but not two promotions going at it in one night.’
James went on to speak about the importance of keeping the Bellator brand intact in 2024,
“I’m really glad we’re keeping the brand as well,” he explained.
“So, that’s why we added the champions series branding to it next year because we just want the Bellator shows to mean more than they ever have.
“I think having two title fights in one night on every one of those eight cards is going to give it that extra bit of meaning.’
James rounded off our conversation by committing the brand to shows in Ireland, giving opportunities for athletes, as well as the fans, to enjoy the product in the future.
“Off the back of the Bellator announcement, you now have PFL as a global powerhouse in mixed martial arts, and we’re committed to bringing more opportunity for Irish athletes, Irish fans, anyone involved in the sport in Ireland.”
With huge stars such as Francis Ngannou and Cedric Doumbe, as well as Jake Paul, all signed with the PFL, it is a really exciting time for the promotion and there is no better time for Irish fans to get involved and get behind the promotion as they hold their 2023 European Championship Finale card here in the 3Arena on December 8th, featuring a plethora of Irish talent throughout.
Stay tuned to Pundit Arena as we build towards this card with interviews with the athletes, as well as cageside reporting from the event on December 8th.