PFL Founder Talks Growth, Francis Ngannou, and the Power of Athlete Agency in MMA

PFL's Impressive Growth in Viewership and Engagement

PFL chairman, founder, and co-owner Donn Davis highlights the organization's remarkable growth in viewership and engagement. Despite a 5% decline in overall TV viewership, PFL has seen a 45% increase this year, solidifying its position as one of the fastest-growing leagues in the world.

By prioritizing an entertaining and informative broadcast, PFL caters to both dedicated MMA fans and newcomers. Davis compares their approach to the yellow line in football or the ball and strike indicators in baseball, offering more data and analytics to create a smarter combat sports fanbase.

However, PFL's success goes beyond attracting viewers. The organization values its fighters and ensures they receive attractive compensation for their efforts. Davis emphasizes the importance of creating a positive environment for the athletes.

PFL's growth can be attributed to its commitment to both fans and fighters, delivering an engaging viewing experience while treating athletes fairly.

Francis Ngannou: The LeBron James of MMA

Donn Davis discusses the signing of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and draws parallels between his impact on MMA and LeBron James' impact on basketball. Ngannou's deal with PFL includes exploring boxing, contributing to leadership and fighter growth (particularly in PFL Africa), and ensuring fair compensation for himself and opponents.

According to Davis, the UFC's reluctance to offer similar treatment to Ngannou stems from their resistance to changing their model, except for select fighters like Conor McGregor. PFL, however, prioritizes the well-being and happiness of its athletes, recognizing that having the best fighters is crucial for the organization's success.

Comparing Ngannou to LeBron James, Davis highlights how both athletes have revolutionized their respective sports. Ngannou's decision to join PFL showcases to other MMA fighters that they have options and can take control of their own careers.

While the full extent of Ngannou's impact remains to be seen, his signing has ignited important conversations and empowered fighters in the MMA industry.

The Dominance of PFL and the Power of Athlete Agency

PFL's dominance in viewership growth indicates its rising prominence in the MMA landscape. With a 45% increase in viewership this year, the league is making significant strides in captivating fans worldwide.

The signing of Francis Ngannou exemplifies the power of athlete agency in MMA. PFL's commitment to prioritizing fighters' well-being and providing fair compensation gives athletes control over their careers, challenging the traditional model of the sport.

Ngannou's decision to join PFL sends a powerful message to other MMA fighters, showing that they don't have to conform to the norms set by other organizations. Athletes now have the opportunity to choose an environment that values their contributions and supports their growth.

PFL's success lies in its ability to combine captivating content for viewers with a fighter-centric approach that empowers athletes. By embracing athlete agency, PFL is paving the way for a new era in MMA where fighters have more control over their destiny.


Brian Mazique, Contributor. (June 24, 2023). PFL Founder Talks Growth, Likens Francis Ngannou To The LeBron James Of MMA.

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