July 13, 2024

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PFL launches regional Africa league with private equity backing – Sportcal

The new regional competition will kick off in the second quarter of 2025.
The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the US-based mixed martial arts (MMA) series has launched its latest regional MMA league in Africa, joining the promotion’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and European branches.
PFL Africa will officially get underway in the second quarter (Q2) of 2025, with a sports league-style regular season, playoffs, and championship format seeing events staged across Sub-Saharan Africa with a roster of fighters selected from across the continent.
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Cameroonian MMA icon Francis Ngannou will serve as chair and is a minority owner of the franchise, with further investment coming from Africa-focused private equity investment fund Helios Sports & Entertainment group which will also hold a stake in PFL Africa.
Speaking on the launch, PFL chief executive Peter Murray stated: “PFL Africa aims to serve the great fans with premium content while strengthening the PFL global footprint in what has for too long been an underserved market.”
PFL Africa is Helios’ fourth major investment, with the group most prominently being a partner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in its NBA Africa venture.
The winners of PFL Africa’s regional weight class divisions will enter into PFL’s main season league, a competition the PFL is aiming to become the “Champions League of MMA” in comparison to European soccer’s UEFA club competition of the same name.
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PFL already has a substantial media rights agreement in place in Sub-Saharan Africa with pay-TV broadcaster SuperSport, which covers all PFL programming such as the main competition, its PPV SuperFight division (of which Ngannou is a part of), PFL Europe, PFL MENA, and soon PFL Africa, as well as action from Bellator, the former rival MMA promotion that PFL took over late last year.
The promotion first announced plans for PFL Africa back in May 2023, and in September spoke to Sportcal on the business’ internationalization strategy, with senior vice president of international James Frewin stating that it is “incumbent” upon the company to bring MMA to these underserved regions.
PFL’s first two regional competitions, PFL Europe, and PFL MENA (which launched in April 2024), have brought in a number of prominent commercial partnerships, most recently with corporate training company Leoron, a partner of PFL MENA.
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