The Professional Fighters League’s inaugural season will finish where it began.
PFL will hold its first championship event New Year’s Eve at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, PFL co-president Carlos Silva told Newsday. The promotion will conclude its first year of competition at PFL 11 with six titles up for grabs, each worth $1 million.
“Yeah, it’s sort of officially unofficial that we’ll be at the Garden on Dec. 31 with six championship fights, yes,” Silva said Tuesday during PFL 4 open workouts at Longo & Weidman MMA in Garden City.
Headquartered in Washington, PFL has made a second home of New York in its first season. The promotion debuted its new format at the Garden on June 7, showcasing heavyweight and featherweight fighters with an 11-fight card, and returns to the area on Thursday with PFL 4 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. The promotion’s fifth event also will be held at the Coliseum on Aug. 2.
At PFL 1, the promotion ran into some scheduling hurdles because of a weigh-in regulation unique to New York. Under the state’s athletic commission rules, fighters must be within a specified amount of weight with each other, even if both are under the official limit. For heavyweights, that amount is 25 pounds. That weight difference allowance, plus Shawn Jordan missing weight by nearly 10 pounds, forced three fights to be changed a day ahead of PFL 1 to comply with the rule.
Silva said the promotion didn’t let that rule stop them when planning the championship event.
“It really didn’t. It’s a different requirement in New York with the heavyweights having to be 25 pounds apart, so it’s something we’ve got to look at,” Silva said. “I think also some of it is there’s a couple heavyweights that we’ve got that are a little bit lighter in the lineup and those guys don’t need to get quite as cut down, they can come in closer to their walking-around weight, which we think is a good thing also for everybody.”
The promotion, Silva said, will work with the commission to ensure all fights can happen as planned in the months between the playoff events scheduled for October and the championship event to close the year.
“It’s something that we’re working with Kim [Sumbler, executive director of the NYSAC] and the commission on, and we’ll certainly work with the fighters on,” Silva said. “The good news is that they’ll come out of those fights on Oct. 5 and will have a little bit of time to strategize there and work with the fighters and weight with the New York State commission to make sure the fights go off good.”
Silva believes his staff has learned from the experience last month and is better prepared ahead of this week’s event.
“Every state is the same under the unified rules and every state is different under them and each of them have their own requirements,” Silva said. “Kim and the team here in New York are great to work with and they really helped us through the card when we were here at Madison Square Garden, and they’re doing the same here.”