PFL 2 2019: Ray Sefo Explains Matchmaking, Criticizes Referee, Praises Fighters

PFL President Ray Sefo spoke to media after the lightweights and featherweights performed at PFL 2 2019, having kind words for the fighters, but not for one of the referees.

Uniondale, NY – The first three events of PFL’s second season are taking place on Long Island in the Nassau Coliseum. The second of which occurred yesterday. It was an exciting 10-fight card with huge finishes and great performances across the featherweight and lightweight divisions.

PFL President Ray Sefo was very pleased with what he saw from the lightest weight classes in his promotion, as he noted in his post-fight press conference.

“I thought everyone came out to finish and came out to fight. You put fights together and you hope things fall together. I thought that everybody fought well. Sometimes you match certain guys together and one might be a little bit advanced in certain areas. That’s the beautiful thing about MMA is that there are so many ways you can win. Either your wrestling, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing. We saw a lot of that tonight. So we’re really happy with the outcome of the show tonight.”

The card was headlined by a slew of wrestlers, with Season 1 champion Lance Palmer in the main event, and Long Island native Chris Wade in the co-main. The expectations were high for them, and they both passed with flying colors.

“I thought they fought well. Lance Palmer was matched up against Alex Gilpin. I knew putting that fight together that it would be a very interesting fight, but at the same time, it would be a back-and-forth thing. But once Lance landed the big overhand left, that started to change the fight and he dominated from there on the ground. Chris Wade came out and the guy he had, Nate [Andrews], he’s one of those guys where if you’re not careful, he could easily hurt you in stand up or take you down and submit you. So he had to be very careful. I thought everyone was very evenly matched. Some guys came out and put on amazing finishes. Other guys, the fights were back-and-forth. All in all, it was good.”

The scariest moment of the night came early on in the card, as Movlid Khaybulaev knocked out Damon Jackson with a huge flying knee just 10 seconds into the fight. Jackson was able to walk off under his own power, and Sefo gave an update on his condition.

“I believe his CAT scan came back. Everything’s okay, so he’ll be good. But I’m not sure exactly what his suspension will be from the commission. I have to double check that and take it from there. I’m assuming he’s going to be okay.”

While the playoffs are merit-based in PFL, the regular season requires some tact when putting together fights. Sefo explained that process and the motives behind it.

“It’s just matchmaking. As you know, there are 12 guys, 12 fighters per division. The women’s division is a little different there are only eight there. So if six guys come through and have points, I have to match two fights of two losers against each other so that we get eight guys that make it to the playoffs. So it’s all about matching the right fights. Obviously, the biggest thing is matching the right fights so it’s entertaining for the fans. You match fights and you hope it goes the way you think it’s going to go. There are certain times when fighters have to revert back to a strength to control the fight. Some fights are going to be amazingly exciting and some fights are not going to be like that. But that’s the fight game.”

Long Islander Andre Harrison had a main card slot, and dominated Peter Petties with his wrestling. While Sefo didn’t mind the fight itself, he was not happy with the third man in the cage.

“The referee did a horrible job. Listen, Andre is a guy who’s been a champion before. He was one of the semifinalists last year. But I thought that fight should have at least been stood up to sort of restart because I thought both of them were laying around doing nothing. It wasn’t them. The referee is the one that controls the fight. I just thought the referee let it be a stalemate for as long as it did.”