“UFC Ain’t the NFL and We’re Not the XFL”- ‘Worried’ Dana White Handed a Reality Check by Donn Davis in a Latest Rant by PFL Boss

Published 11/20/2023, 10:19 PM EST

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The PFL has officially acquired Bellator MMA, marking a significant shift in the MMA landscape. Donn Davis, PFL founder, confirmed the deal, revealing that Paramount, the former owners of Bellator, will retain a minority ownership in the promotion through PFL stock. This move creates a co-leader situation, with the combined PFL Bellator roster boasting 30% of fighters ranked in the top 25 globally by Fight Matrix, rivaling the UFC!

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The move has shaken up the MMA landscape as recently UFC CEO Dana White and other executives had claimed that the PFL and other organizations were not “competition” for the UFC. And in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Davis has put White and the UFC on notice with his comments. Let’s take a look at what he had to say!

Dana White receives pushback from Donn Davis for his comments

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Donn Davis, in a conversation with Ariel Helwani, discussed the competitive landscape between PFL, Bellator, and the UFC. Davis highlighted Dana White’s recent comments about PFL, indicating concern. The metrics revealed in the press release, specifically the 30% of the combined PFL and Bellator roster ranked in the top 25 by Fight Matrix, drew attention.

He stated, “He didn’t comment on the PFL for 4 years because he wasn’t worried. He’s commented on the PFL a lot in the last six months, he’s worried.”

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While acknowledging UFC’s dominance in top pay-per-view cards, Davis emphasized the quality of upcoming PFL and Bellator events. He countered the perception of PFL and Bellator as mere challengers, asserting their co-leader status and anticipating increased recognition over time.

Davis stated, “he (White)  knows that the UFC ain’t the NFL, we’re not the XFL but he wants you to think that. And it’s just a matter of time before that starts to get more well-known. And we’re not number two, we’re a co-leader, you don’t want that, that’s what’s going on.

He asserted their co-leader status and anticipated growing recognition, challenging the perception of being merely a contender in the MMA landscape. Davis’s remarks serve notice to the UFC, signaling a shift in the industry’s power dynamics. And a former UFC heavyweight champion has also shared his support for the new venture!

PFL receives congratulations from former UFC heavyweight champion

PFL was founded in 2017 and is a relative newcomer to the MMA landscape. But it attracted a $100m investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund in August. The investment was part of a plan to expand the PFL in the Middle East, with a regional league headquarters in Saudi Arabia set to launch next year. Their partnership with Francis Ngannou earlier this year also adds another level of excitement to upcoming PFL events!

Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion recently shared his congratulations for the PFL on his Twitter/X account. He stated, “Game changers @PFLMMA Congratulations on a game-changing announcement in the MMA space. The opportunities for PFL & Bellator athletes under this banner are endless”

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The move has caused a frenzy in the MMA landscape. And Ngannou’s comments underscore the significance of the move by PFL for MMA athletes outside the UFC’s banner. It remains to be seen if the PFL can now dethrone the UFC from its position as the premier MMA organization in the world!

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Do you think the PFL’s acquisition of Bellator should be a cause for concern for Dana White and the UFC? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni

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I am Dushyant Patni, a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. My passion for Mixed Martial Arts started because my father used to be a boxer and a martial arts fanatic. It passed down to me as my first pair of boxing gloves were his old ones! Prior to joining EssentiallySports, I honed my writing and editing skills across various organizations as a writer and an editor.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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