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PFL’s Donn Davis vows league will likely be MMA’s ‘co-leader’ after Bellator purchase, calls Dana White ‘apprehensive’

Donn Davis believes that the PFL just took its next step toward greatness. The league officially announced Monday that it has acquired Bellator MMA’s roster and assets, a move that greatly strengthens the PFL’s standing in the MMA world. As the founder of the PFL, Davis couldn’t be more thrilled with the possibilities that lie

PFL’s Donn Davis vows league will likely be MMA’s ‘co-leader’ after Bellator purchase, calls Dana White ‘apprehensive’

Donn Davis believes that the PFL simply took its subsequent step towards greatness.

The league formally introduced Monday that it has acquired Bellator MMA’s roster and property, a transfer that enormously strengthens the PFL’s standing within the MMA world. Because the founding father of the PFL, Davis couldn’t be extra thrilled with the chances that lie forward for his group, particularly with regard to how the acquisition may speed up the league’s development.

Davis appeared on The MMA Hour shortly after the PFL-Bellator information broke to debate numerous subjects, together with whether or not he feels UFC CEO Dana White has been feeling the warmth with acquisition rumors circulating for a number of months. White was not too long ago dismissive of the PFL and Bellator when requested in regards to the potential information, which Davis sees as an indication that he and his workforce are pushing the correct buttons.

“Everyone is aware of Dana properly sufficient that he solely dismisses issues that fear him or else he simply doesn’t remark,” Davis stated. “He didn’t touch upon the PFL for 4 years as a result of he wasn’t apprehensive. He’s commented on the PFL so much the final six months. You’re apprehensive.

“What particularly apprehensive him about Bellator is the metrics we placed on the press launch. Thirty % of that roster ranked within the high 25 per Combat Matrix rankings. This isn’t Dana will get to rank his personal guys, Donn’s rating his personal guys. There’s just one group that ranks all fighters, Combat Matrix, independently. Thirty % of the UFC roster is high 25-ranked and now our mixed firm of PFL and Bellator, thirty %. The identical.

“Now, to the UFC’s credit score, in case you take a look at high 5 on the earth, they nonetheless personal the highest 5, one via 5. So pay-per-view playing cards, we couldn’t compete with them proper now, which is we’re solely going to have two they usually have 12. However in case you say I’m turning on TV on ESPN Saturday night time or I’m going to tune in Friday night time to look at this Bellator Worldwide Collection or PFL, our card’s going to be higher. Higher. As a result of what they placed on this 12 months was ranked 70 [on average Fight Matrix ranking] and what we’re going to placed on the subsequent 12 months is ranked 40. That’s why he stated, ‘I don’t know why in God’s inexperienced Earth anyone’s shopping for this,’ as a result of he’s good and he is aware of that.

“UFC ain’t the NFL. We’re not the XFL. However he needs you to assume that. And it’s only a matter of time earlier than that begins to get extra well-known, then we’re not No. 2, we’re co-leader. He doesn’t need that. That’s what’s happening.”

For years, there was a lot debate over the second-biggest group in MMA behind the UFC. Bellator was lengthy thought-about the default reply in North America, with the PFL later claiming the spot and ONE Championship arguing its presence on the Asian market made it the de facto No. 2 fight sports activities promotion.

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With the PFL and Bellator becoming a member of forces, it seems that debate is closed.

Whereas Davis is passionate about Monday’s information, he’s not resting on his laurels, and he made it clear that the aim is to face shoulder-to-shoulder with the UFC sometime, not simply decide on following behind.

“As a founding father of an organization you at all times return to day one,” Davis stated. “Day one, individuals stated, ‘This complete season format factor ain’t going to work. UFC’s an 8,000-pound gorilla, a whole lot of corporations have tried.’ So on a day like this, you simply assume, one other chapter. Our first aim is to be No. 2. That was actually our first aim. Test, we did that. Now our subsequent aim is with new property and new capabilities and nice fighters, how can we turn out to be co-leader?

“So type of as an entrepreneur, you’re by no means, ever completed. You by no means actually sit again, as a substitute you say, ‘What’s subsequent?’ So what’s subsequent for us is, OK, No. 2, test. Now let’s go attempt to be co-leader.”

In explaining his unbridled optimism, Davis quoted mentor Ted Leonsis, most famously identified to sports activities followers because the proprietor of a trio of Washington sports activities groups, the Wizards, the Capitals, and the Mystics. Davis stated that one phrase Leonsis was well-known for was, “declare victory,” a mantra that was meant to be employed continuously in enterprise and in life.

The best way Davis sees it, profitable isn’t in regards to the PFL beating the UFC, however within the UFC making room on the high for an additional main participant.

“What’s unbelievable is the UFC is a superb firm they usually invented this business,” Davis stated. “This isn’t about taking share or shifting share. MMA is rising. MMA is rising 10 % a 12 months, each different sport two to 3 %. They’re going to do properly. We’re going to only do actually, rather well. And I’m excited to have my new teammates at Bellator, I’m excited to have all our new fighters propelling us ahead and we’re going to win.

“The subsequent time we’re on right here, when individuals laughed that we’re going to be a co-leader, we’re going to be a co-leader. Identical to they laughed that we’re going to be No. 2, and we’re No. 2. So to me, in case you’re on the brand new Bellator workforce, in case you’re on the brand new mixed PFL workforce, declare victory.”

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