Looks like there’s a new player in town.
On his substack Helwani Nose, Ariel Helwani reported that a new MMA promotion will launch imminently and that it will feature, structurally, some key components that will differentiate it from the UFC and other existing companies.
Here’s what Helwani initially wrote about the new promotion:
According to sources, a number of influential industry individuals have come together to create a new MMA league that is structured more like the NBA/NHL/NFL rather than your typical MMA promotion. This new league would also include an athlete association that implements a CBA with 50/50 revenue share, guaranteed contracts, health insurance, career-ending insurance and a pension plan. The plan is to announce the venture in the coming days, I’m told. They are hoping to launch in 2023.
Helwani added some more details on his MMA Hour program this week:
The new league is structured as a nonprofit where independent franchise owners will roster a team of athletes signed from free agency or via the league entry draft. Each team will compete in home and away competitions in a traditional league format vying for a playoff spot. The owners and athletes are governed by the leagues bylaws and collective bargaining agreement which is enforced by the commissioner and board of governors.
Since then Helwani released even more details, unveiling that the new promotion’s working title was World Fight League (WFL). He also shared an image of its logo. Reportedly the WFL is “made up of several former/current professional athletes from the world of NFL, NBA and MMA, including multiple MMA world champions, five former respected MMA promoters, former MMA Executives and matchmakers, actors and recording artists.”
Apparently the WFL will feature four conferences: North America, South America, Europe/Africa and Asia/Oceania. Each conference with have between eight and 24 teams. Each team will have a roster of 24 fighters, three per weight-class.
Currently, Helwani reports, there have been six approved franchises. Four of these are in the USA and two are in Canada.
Helwani also included some details regarding the proposed collective bargaining agreement, noting that an agreement won’t be drawn up until a union has been established. However, currently there is an agreement that franchise owners will not be able to take more than 50 percent in revenue share. Franchise owners must also provide health insurance, career-ending insurance and a pension plan for their athletes.
I am told by sources that both Georges St. Pierre and David Loiseau will be involved in the World Fight League as part owners of Quebec's franchise, "The Montreal Force."— Mike Russell (@MIKERUSSELLMMA) September 18, 2021
Veteran MMA reporter Mike Russell has claimed that one of the teams involved in WFL will be based in Montreal, with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre and fellow former fighter David Loiseau as part-owners. Russell reported that the team’s name will be ‘The Montreal Force’.