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PFL suspends 2020 season due to COVID-19, will pay fighters monthly stipend

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The promotion is expected to return in 2021 but will pay its fighters a monthly cash stipend in the meantime.


The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is the latest MMA promotion to be impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The promotion, which has a unique sports-season format that includes a regular season, a postseason and a championship event, announced in a Monday press release that it would suspend its 2020 season and reschedule it for Spring 2021.

“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 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.”

The PFL 2021 Season will be distributed on ESPN platforms in the U.S. and to 160 countries by the league’s international media partners. Additionally, PFL announced that for 2020 it is creating new original programming for distribution across ESPN platforms and PFL channels.

The promotion also announced that it plans to support its roster of fighters by paying them a monthly stipend.

“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. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

Speaking to the New York Times, PFL CEO Peter Murray explained that the promotion is in a “position to maintain the majority of our roster, and for those that are going to continue with the PFL, we have put in place a program for a monthly cash stipend to support our fighters.

“We think it’s the right thing to do.”

By comparison, the UFC has not announced any form of monthly support system for its struggling fighters. Several fighters from the cancelled UFC London event revealed that they received their show money for the card but it remains unclear whether others who were scheduled to compete on the four other cancelled shows received their pay.

After announcing the cancellation of UFC 249 on ESPN, UFC President Dana White told his fighters not to “worry about the financial part of this” and that they would “make things right with the people who were willing to step up and fight next weekend on April 18.”

Whether the UFC actually “made things right” is anyone’s guess.