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Report: PFL in negotiations to acquire Bellator

Bellator valued at ‘US$500m’ in potential deal which would see Paramount get PFL equity.

4 September 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Bellator has been looking for a partner to support growth
  • PFL secured ‘US$100m’ Saudi investment last month 

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is in talks to acquire rival mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion Bellator, according to Front Office Sports (FOS).

Paramount-owned Bellator, which is based in California, has reportedly been valued at as much as US$500 million in the deal and the transaction would be primarily in cash. Paramount would also receive some equity in the PFL.

FOS added that the deal could collapse and it has not been determined how the PFL and Bellator would operate if the transaction goes through.

Launched in 2008, the promotion has held nearly 300 events to date, including in Europe. Notable fighters on its roster include Brazilian-American Cris Cyborg. 

Bellator president Scott Coker had revealed in June that the organisation was looking for a partner and the PFL could be a candidate. Reports of the PFL as a potential suitor then emerged last month.

For the PFL, the acquisition would be the latest aggressive move from the promotion. Having been valued at a reported US$500 million last year after raising US$30 million in a Series E equity funding round led by Waverley Capital, the company announced Saudi Arabia’s SRJ Sports Investments had taken a minority stake in the PFL last week. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) owned firm will purportedly inject more than US$100 million into the promotion to help support global expansion and sign top fighters.

In addition, the PFL signed former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in May to support its drive into Africa. Online influencer Jake Paul has also inked a multi-fight deal and been given an equity stake in the company.

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