Much like the 2020 Summer Olympics, the 2020 Professional Fighters League season has been pushed back a year. In a press release distributed to media outlets Monday, PFL officials announced that their upcoming season would not take place.
Instead, the league’s next season, still expected to air on ESPN, will take place in 20201.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Professional Fighters League has rescheduled our upcoming 2020 season for Spring 2021. PFL is a global MMA league with athletes from over 25 countries, and our decision is guided by the health and safety of our fighters, fans, partners, and event personnel,” the league wrote in a statement.
The big news beyond that is that fighters will get paid, although how much is not known and may be based off existing contracts. In its press release, the promotion stated that it will “pay its league fighters a monthly cash stipend to help support them and their families throughout 2020.”
It also intends to produce “new original programming for distribution across ESPN platforms and PFL channels.”
The league’s 2019 season was its first on ESPN. The merit-based tournament format has proven popular with hardcore MMA fans, who prefer to see winners earn title shots, rather than the process being based on a quasi-official popularity contest. The 2020 season had some fresh faces attached to it, including Canadian fighters Rory MacDonald and Olivier Aubin-Mercier. In addition, returning stars like Kayla Harrison and Lance Palmer were expected to take part.
In a statement included in Monday’s press release, promotion CEO Peter Murray was quoted as saying
“The PFL mission is to evolve and grow the sport of MMA, and we look forward to staging our unique sport-season format with Regular Season, Playoff and Championship events on ESPN platforms next year. PFL has always been focused on delivering the best made-for-TV MMA product and we will continue to deliver the most innovative fight experience going forward. Fans can also look forward to PFL elevating our roster with new championship caliber fighter signings such as Rory MacDonald.
“For the remainder of 2020, the PFL will support our fighters with a monthly cash stipend to help provide some relief during these challenging times. In addition, for sports fans who we know are looking for compelling content, the PFL will deliver new original programming across ESPN and PFL platforms.
“PFL will continue to be an innovator in the world of sports.
Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus.”