PFL founder Donn Davis is determined to deliver everything that mixed martial arts fans are clamoring for, including a heavyweight superfight between Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones.
The Professional Fighters League made waves last week after announcing that they had signed Francis Ngannou to a ground-breaking contract that will see the former UFC champion make his Smart Cage debut in 2024. Aside from guaranteeing himself a fat stack of cash, ‘The Predator’ will also head up the promotion’s PFL Africa expansion, serving as the official chairman. While some have suggested that the PFL has simply given away entirely too much for a fighter who is yet to prove himself as a legitimate draw in the sport, PFL founder Donn Davis believes this is a clear win for Francis Ngannou, the promotion, the fans, and other fighters from around the world.
“This is a huge win for PFL. Opens our pay-per-view division,” Davis said during an appearance on My Mom’s Basement with Robbie Fox. “We’ve got Francis and Jake [Paul] as our headliners in 2024. Probably the two most exciting fights you could ever have other than Conor [McGregor] who’s still a sensation. It brings a huge audience draw to our media product. It’s going to bring other fighters who have seen the way to another great platform in the PFL. It’s also a win for the UFC. They’re going to be just fine. They made their business decision and they’re still the leader in the game.
“So a lot of people want to make this winners and losers. Everybody won here and the fourth winner is all the other top-ranked MMA fighters in the world. If I’m a fighter, May 17 was the best day of my life because I saw there’s another path,” Davis continued. “The PFL has the same distribution the UFC does, ESPN, and DAZN. ESPN in terms of pay-per-view in the U.S. DAZN in terms of pay-per-view internationally. We’re in 150 countries on media. The UFC’s in 150 countries on media and we have the same production and platform capabilities as they do.”
Francis Ngannou’s First PFL Opponent Will Be Bigger Than All the Predictions
Since last week’s big reveal, fans, and online publications have been levying their predictions for Francis Ngannou’s first opponent inside the Smart Cage. According to Donn Davis, nobody has made an accurate prediction and promises that it will be far more exciting than anything you’ve read thus far.
“There’s been all kinds of speculation ranging from the PFL season [winner] to Fabricio Werdum. Let’s just go from the full range. I believe it will be something else and bigger and more exciting than you’ve read so far in the last three days. We have nine months.
“Nine months ago, people would have laughed if he had said Francis was going to come to the PFL. So if I speculated what we would do now, people would equally go ‘Poo paw, that would never happen.’ But believe me. Don’t discount our resourcefulness or our creativity. Who Francis will fight will be more interesting than what is speculated on the internet today.
Could it be Jon Jones? Probably not, but don’t let that dash your hopes too quickly. When it comes to giving fans what they want, Donn Davis is going all in. Even if that means handing Jon Jones his own mega-contract or working side-by-side with UFC President Dana White to make the heavyweight dream match a reality.
“The PFL is on the side of MMA fans. We look at the MMA market much different as a disruptive innovative entrant. We want the fans to win because if the fans win, it tends to be good for business for everybody. I’ve built dozens of companies in three decades and every time I focused on the consumer, everybody won. That gets lost in the history of boxing and MMA. It’s very parochial, very closed. very territorial.
“Most of the people in boxing and MMA have never built another company. They’re insiders. Every company I’ve been around [the] sports radar, DraftKings, AOL, Sweet Greens, the salad company. We win by focusing on the consumer. In this case, the MMA fan. So our answer is yes, yes, and yes to every question you would ever ask because it’s around the MMA fan. Would we give Jon Jones a mega-deal? Yes. Would we co-promote with the UFC? Yes. Would we do it on these terms? Yes. Would we do it in that way? Yes. Because the fans want to see [it].