Thursday, July 05, 2018

Professional Fighters League president Ray Sefo spoke recently with Damon Martin for MMA Weekly about the promotion's reimagining of mixed martial arts into a tournament structure with seasons. Sefo competed 72 times in the storied K-1 kickboxing promotion from 1996 to 2010. He won and lost against all the greatest K-1 stars including Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Andy Hug, Mark Hunt, and Semmy Schilt. K-1 often worked with four-main one night tournaments, and every fighter had his eye on entering the yearly World Grand Prix.

Now Sefo is bringing a parallel approach to MMA, with the winner in each division winning $1,000,000. To get there fighters have to fight through an eight-man bracket. And to make the final eight, fighters earn points in two pre-tournament rounds, with 3 points for a win and 1-3 more for a finish, depending on round.

“It reminds me of the K-1 days,” said Sefo. “Every fight is a main card fight or a main event fight. Every fight matters. From fight No. 1 to fight No. 12, every fight matters.”

PFL was born from World Series of Fighting, but signed far more fighters.

“I go back to my years in K-1, it was fighters from all over the world. This kind of comes from that, too,” said Sefo. “It was important for us to find the best fighters from around the world who were available to compete in the season. Once this first season is over, next season we’re going to have even more fighters who want to be a part of the PFL."

PFL 3 air Thursday night, with the main card broadcast on NBC Sports Network, and the early fights streaming on Facebook.