Three PFL fighters in playoffs fail NAC drug tests

November 21, 2019

ESPN reports that Glaico Franca, Luis Rafael Laurentino and Ramsey Nijem failed drug tests and could be disciplined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  All 3 participated in the PFL playoffs.

Franca and Laurentino tested positive for the banned steroid stnozolol and Nijem tested positive for marijuana.  The fighters had their temporary suspensions extended by the NSAC at its monthly meeting and are expected to have full disciplinary hearings December 18th.

Fortunately for the organization, none of the athletes flagged advanced to the New Year’s Eve Finale for the promotion in New York.

Franca and Laurentino believe that supplements that they took may have been contaminated leading to the drug test failure.  Franca reached the PFL welterweight semifinals on October 11th in Las Vegas before losing to David Michaud.  Laurentino lost in the PFL featherweight quarterfinals to Jeremy Kennedy on October 17 and Nijem lost to Natan Schulte in the PFL lightweight quarterfinals.

Payout Perspective:

This is one of the potential issues with a tournament format for the PFL – the potential of a fighter failing a drug test.  Regardless of whether it’s the fighter’s fault or a tainted supplement as Franca and Laurentino claim, the investigation regarding the testing failure would detour the tournament.  Fortunately, these three would not have impacted the final for $1 million on December 31st.

PFL finalist Pineda fails NAC drug test

November 14, 2019

MMA Junkie reports that PFL featherweight finalist Daniel Pineda has failed a Nevada Athletic Commission-administered-test.  The news could knock Pineda out of a chance for $1 million in the final against Lance Palmer on December 31st.

At this point, the NAC and the promotion have not made an official statement although Junkie reached out to Pineda’s manager who issued the following statement:

“Right now we’re in the process of researching what could have led to a positive test.  We plan on appealing the decision once all information is gathered.”

Pineda was an injury replacement in the PFL Playoffs for Damon Jackson.  Pineda won two fights in the same night to make the final which is set for December 31st at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Payout Perspective:

 It’s unlikely that Pineda will be given the Nate Diaz treatment when it comes to the adjudication of this drug test.  Hopefully, the NAC will be mindful that this could be a tainted supplement scenario although its likely too soon to speculate.  But, since we are, Pineda could be deprived of a chance to fight for $1 million although the test may prove to be a tainted supplement.  The PFL has yet to make a statement which likely means they are trying to work on possible alternatives to Pineda fighting and/or helping to clarify the test.

PFL Playoffs 2 on ESPN2 draws 126,000 viewers

October 21, 2019

The Professional Fighters’ League drew 126,000 viewers on ESPN2 Thursday night for its second night of playoffs from Las Vegas.

The PFL playoffs last week from the Mandalay Bay featured the quarterfinals of the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions.  Fighters advancing to New York had to fight twice with some fighting on the Prelims and then on the Main Card to allow at least some time in between fights.  Purses for the show can be found here.

The event did slightly better than some of the regular season Prelim cards which aired on ESPN this past summer. Notably, last week, the first set of playoffs on ESPN2 didn’t register in the top 150 of cable programming for the night.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership likely was buried due to MLB Playoff baseball featuring the Yankees and Astros, NFL Thursday night football and then College Football on ESPN.  Still, one would have hoped that the ratings would have been a little more considering PFL is in the thick of its playoffs.

PFL Playoffs 2 Payouts

October 20, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payouts from Thursday night’s PFL event in Las Vegas.  Most participants were paid $25,000 to show and most were paid another $25,000 for the win with an alternate being paid $10,000 just in case.



Christopher Wade  $25,000

Nathan Andrews  $25,000


Islam Mamedov  $25,000 (declared a majority draw with Mamedov winning via tiebreaker)

Loik Radzhabov  $25,000


Akmed Aliev  $25,000

Rashid Magomedov  $50,000


Natan Schulte  $50,000/$25,000 def.

Ramsey Nijem  $25,000


Luis Laurentino  $25,000

Jeremy Fitz-Kennedy  $25,000


Daniel Pineda  $25,000/$25,000 def.

Movlid  Khaibulaev  $25,000


Alex Gilpin $25,000/$25,000 def.

Andre Harrison  $25,000


Lance Palmer  $50,000/$25,000 def.

Marcos Almeida  $25,000


Loik Radzhabov  $25,000/$25,000 def.

Chris Wade  $25,000


Natan Schulte $25,000 (no win bonus) def.

Akhmet Aliev  $25,000


Daniel Pineda $25,000/$25,000 def.

Jeremy Kennedy $25,000


Jeremy Kennedy $25,000/$25,000 def.

Luis Laurentino  $25,000


Lance Palmer $25,000 (no win bonus) def.

Alex Gilpin $25,000



Ylies Dijiroun  $10,000

Payout Perspective:

It should be noted that Natan Schulte, Rashid Magomedov and Lance Palmer were paid $50,000 up front plus a win bonus in the quarterfinals but Schulte and Palmer had no win bonus in the semifinal (Magomedov did not advance in quarters).  The lightweight and featherweights advance to New York on December 31st to compete for the $1 million per weight cash prize.

Abdelaziz charged with battery in incident with rival manager

October 14, 2019

There were fireworks backstage at the PFL Playoff event on Friday night as MMA managers were involved in altercation and police have charged Ali Abdelaziz.

Abdelaziz and Abe Kawa were involved with the police report (obtained by MMA Junkie) stating that Abdelaziz struck Kawa in the face with a closed fist. Kawa states in the report that Abdelaziz approached him stating he needed to speak with him and then struck him in the face “for no reason.”

Two on duty officers time witnessed the altercation as well as Kawa’s fiancée who corroborated the incident observed by the officers.

Payout Perspective:

Abdelaziz, already a controversial figure, has caused another problem which will likely lead to a criminal and possibly civil charge. While its clear that there may be a reason for the dust-up, its unprofessional and rather stupid considering the area that the incident happened was a VIP area where police officers were monitoring. There’s no word on why the managers were squabbling or why Abdelaziz believed he needed to strike Kawa. The two have vast stables of fighters and one has to wonder if something like this would impact their decision to stay with them.

PFL Playoffs Payout: Harrison tops salaries on night fighters cashed twice

October 14, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payout sheet from Friday’s Professional Fighter’s League Friday Night at the Mandalay Bay via the NAC. Kayla Harrison topped the payout roster with $100,000.

Via the Nevada Athletic Commission:

Kayla Harrison $100,000 + 25,000 (quarterfinal winnings) $125,000 def.

Bobbi-Jo Dalziel $25,000


Larissa Pacheco $25,000 def.

Sarah Kaufman $25,000


David Michaud $25,000 + $25,000 (quarterfinal winnings) = $50,000 def.

John Howard $25,000


David Michaud $25,000 + $25,000 (semfinal base and win) = $50,000 def

Glaico Franca $25,000


Magomed Magomedkerimov $50,000 + $25,000 (quarterfinal winnings) total $75,000 def.

Christopher Curtis $25,000


Glaico Franca $25,000 + $25,000 (quarterfinal winnings) = $50,000 def.

Andre Fialho $25,000


Ray Cooper, III  $50,000 + $25,000 (semifinal winnings) = $75,000 def.

Christopher Curtis $25,000 (semifinal base) (Curtis fought in place of Magomedkerimov after he was unable to fight due to illness.)


Ray Cooper, III $25,000 (semifinal base) draw

Cheikh-Sadibou Sy $25,000


Nikolay Aleksakhin $25,000 def.

Jesse Ronson $12,000


Brendan Looughnane $20,000 + $20,000 (quarterfinal winnings) = $40,000

Matthew Waggy $10,000

Handesson Ferreira $10,000

Payout Perspective:

Michaud, Franca, Cooper and Curtis fought twice Friday night.  Curtis advanced to the finals in the welterweight tournament despite a loss to Magomedkerimov due to illness.  Ironically, Curtis had retired after losing a unanimous decision to Magomedkerimov only to get KO’d by Cooper.  Ferreira was paid as a standby despite not fighting on the card.

PFL announces partnership with DraftKings

September 25, 2019

The Professional Fighters League announced a partnership with DraftKings starting with the 2019 PFL Playoffs Bracket Challenge.  The press release indicates that MMA fans will have two opportunities to “earn up to $50,000.”

The details on how to play from the press release:

The 2019 PFL Playoffs Bracket Challenge is free and easy to play. Fans will need to pick the winners of each quarterfinal fight, then pick two fighters from the overall bracket that they think will advance to the championship. Semifinal picks are worth double. The women’s lightweight playoffs on October 11 are semifinals only. All picks will have to be locked in before the fights begin, and a leaderboard will update rankings at the conclusion of each playoff round so players can see how they size up against the competition.

Each PFL playoff event will pay out $10,000 split equally among players with the highest total points. Players with the highest total points across all three fight nights will have a chance to earn up to $30,000. Entrants must be 21 years or older to participate.

The 2019 PFL World Championship Pick ‘Em contest is presented by Presidente. For each weight class, players will earn points every time they pick the outright match winner, in addition to how a fighter won, in what round, and at what time they won. A leaderboard will update player rankings at the conclusion of each fight, and up to $20,000 of prize money is up for grabs. Additionally, DraftKings will run a social sweepstakes for a trip to New York and VIP ticket package to the 2019 PFL World Championship.

Payout Perspective:

One Championship recently released details of its own Fantasy Game in which fans can use its app to play where they pick winners from a card.  Similarly, PFL’s game will engage fans as the 2019 Playoffs begin next month.  After what feels like a hiatus from the Fantasy Sports frenzy, it seems to be back.  Certainly, the picking of winners and creative ways to have fans interested in the fights could/should/will lead to the eventual move to gambling on the events.

PFL 3 Prelims on ESPN2 draw 113,000 viewers

June 7, 2019

The Professional Fighters’ League prelims which aired on ESPN2 on Thursday afternoon/evening drew 113,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event was the precursor to the third event of the second season for the PFL.  The prelims saw Emiliano Sordi get a 2nd round KO against Vinny Magalhaes in a light heavyweight matchup.  Also, Viktor Nemkov defeated Rakim Cleveland via unanimous decision.

Prelims for second season of PFL on ESPN

PFL 1: 137,000

PFL2:  120,000

PFL 3:  113,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are low but as a prelim event, its hardly any surprise for the ratings.  The event went up against the NHL Stanley Cup airing on NBC at about the same time too.  These events are ones that can get the PFL name out there on cable but the eventual hope is that fans gravitate to subscribe on ESPN+

PFL and iHeartMedia announce new partnership deal

May 3, 2019

The Professional Fighters League and iHeartMedia announced a marketing and content partnership deal “designed to promote fight events and enhance the fan experience through the fusion of music and MMA.”

The PFL begins its second season in its “sport-season format” of Regular Season, Playoffs and Championships next week. iHeartMedia touts itself as the “umber one audio company in the United States with subscription-based (and free) options for users to listen to live broadcast stations across the nation.

Via press release:

iHeartMedia on-air hosts and talent will make appearances at select events, kicking off with New York’s Hip Hop and R&B station Power 105.1’s DJ Suss-One spinning live at the first event of the PFL 2019 Season May 9 at Nassau Coliseum. Promotional opportunities continue with DJ Envy of The Breakfast Club, the popular morning show syndicated on Hip-Hop and R&B stations nationwide, to drive tune-in for the events.

The partnership also includes creating music experiences in connection with each fight night and providing fans with access to PFL “in the life” fighter interviews. Fans will gain insight into what happens behind-the-scenes during fight week through the lens of iHeart and PFL influencers. Promotional contests will run across iHeartMedia stations throughout the country and on iHeartRadio, the all-in-one digital live streaming radio service.

Payout Perspective:

The partnership looks to help the in-arena experience while infusing music into the PFL programming. One has to believe that this partnership was aided by PFL’s new platform on ESPN. How this helps each side? We will see.

PFL secures global partnership with Anheuser Busch In Bev’s Estrella Jalisco

March 13, 2019

The Professional Fighters’ League announced a multi-year global partnership with Anheuser Busch In-Bev’s Estrella Jalisco brand. It will be the Exclusive Beer Partner of the PFL.

Via PFL press release:

As the Official Beer of the PFL, Estrella Jalisco has global rights to use PFL logos and “Official Partner” branding for advertising and promotional usage, including pass-through branding rights for promotions with on-premise and retail channel partners. ABI and the league will also collaborate on exclusive content across digital platforms.

Estrella Jalisco logos will be featured in and around the cage and on signage in and around the arenas. PFL regular season action returns to New York and New Jersey, with mini residencies for PFL 1-3 at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, and PFL 4-6 at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. This season, the PFL will be introducing the PFL Cageside Club, a new VIP floor level experience for fans, which will prominently feature the Mexican beer.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting sponsorship development when you consider that the UFC and Modelo forged a deal for it to be a sponsor for the promotion.  Anheuser-Busch In Bev is the parent company of Modelo.  Thus, the company’s beers will be seen on ESPN through the two MMA promotions.  The partnership with the PFL was likely secured with the ESPN deal.

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