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Fabricio Werdum motivated by PFL’s million-dollar prize: ‘That gets any person’s attention’

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Former UFC heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum explains why decided to sign with the Professional Fighters League.

UFC Fight Night: Werdum v Gustafsson Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The Professional Fighters League knows how to catch an athlete’s attention, all the way to legendary former UFC champions.

After finishing his UFC contract and leaving the promotion with a first-round submission victory against Alexander Gustafsson, Fabricio Werdum became a free agent and one of the most sought-after fighters by major MMA promotions soon after the win.

Although ‘Vai Cavalo’ was approached by Bellator and came close to signing with Scott Coker for a Fedor Emelianenko rematch, the deal was never sealed and the Brazilian moved on to new negotiations. Soon after, Werdum announced he was picked up by the PFL and showed an eagerness to compete for the one million dollar prize.

In an interview with Ag Fight, Fabricio explained the money alone was not the sole reason why the chose the PFL, but it did help him make up his mind.

“What motivated me to sign with the PFL was precisely the grand prix format, which gives you this great prize. One million dollars, that gets any person’s or any athlete’s attention. You win your purse, and if you become the champion, one million more. I believe any fighter would love this offer.”

“Another factor was that I know this promotion really respects its athletes.” Werdum continued. “Ray Sefo is a former K-1 guy that I’ve always respected. He knows how to take care of athletes. That’s important, it helps a lot. I also noticed that there’ll be a lot of challenges there. Plenty of good fighters in the PFL, and I like that. It motivates me. I’m motivated to become the champion in a different promotion. I’ll train for that and then I’ll see what I’ll do after. That’s the truth.”

Back in July, Werdum (24-9-1) tapped out Alexander Gustafsson in his last UFC appearance. The win snapped a two-fight losing skid for ‘Vai Cavalo’, who had lost to Alexey Oleynik and Alexander Volkov before that. Overall, the 43-year-old left the promotion with a 10-4 record.