After Being Ditched for Rival PFL, UFC CEO Dana White Opens Up on Former Contender Derek Brunson’s Move

Published 10/08/2023, 9:26 AM EDT

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In recent times there’s been a constant tug-of-war between PFL and UFC. Both the promotions are at their top right now. PFL has been receiving substantial funds from various sources such as Saudi Arabia to expand its business. With the supposed PFL-Bellator deal moving forward, PFL might be poised to become UFC’s biggest rival in the MMA game. However, UFC’s dominance is not that easy to challenge.

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Several UFC fighters have recently joined the Professional Fighters League (PFL), potentially posing a challenge to the UFC President. Notably, Francis Ngannou‘s move to PFL has significantly boosted its prominence. Additionally, Derek Brunson recently switched from the UFC to PFL, prompting Dana White, the UFC CEO, to share his perspective in a recent interview.

Dana White reacts to Derek Brunson’s departure from UFC

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Derek Brunson, through a social media post, confirmed a few weeks ago that he would be departing the UFC’s stage to grace the PFL’s arena. The news was later confirmed by the PFL authorities on Friday, that Brunson would be signing for them with a debut set for November. Brunson has not fought since March this year and his exclusion was a mutually decided agreement between the UFC and him.

Brunson’s manager Ali Abdelaziz also stated publicly that Brunson’s decision to part away from the UFC was a mutual decision between the athlete and promotion. Brunson’s last win came in September 2021.

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Brunson has been one of the most consistent fighters in the middleweight division and his absence might have some aftereffects for the promotion.

Dana White while having an interview on the pretext of UFC Fight Night was asked about his opinion on Derek Brunson’s decision to jump ships and what was his reactions upon hearing the news. White was quick to add that he was released from the burden and he is not thinking about it. He added “He was probably released. I’m assuming yeah, I don’t know… I’m not in the middle of that yeah”

PFL’s rise: challenging UFC’s dominance in the MMA world

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PFL has been taking in some pretty great talents within its roster and the flexibility that they have given to their fighters to compete outside their promotion has induced many fighters to fight under them. Within a matter of 4 years, the promotion has bagged in some of the biggest names in the UFC to compete under the PFL tag. It includes names such as Anthony Pettis, Fabricio Werdum, Rory McDonald, and Francis Ngannou.

With the inclusion of Derek Brunson, PFL is now eyeing to become a challenger to the MMA crown that has always been above UFC’s head. “The 2023 PFL World Championship is set to be the grandest event in PFL history, and we are excited to welcome Derek Brunson to the PFL and host the return of two-time PFL World Champion, Ray Cooper III,” stated PFL CEO Peter Murray. “MMA’s richest night will feature the biggest stars in MMA vying for six world championships and $6 million, while including the return of Kayla Harrison and Biaggio Ali Walsh.

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As PFL is taking in more and more talent within its roster it is becoming more and more challenging for the UFC. However, healthy competition is always good for the markets as well as for the fighters. Witnessing PFL’s journey to challenge UFC’s Dominance will be interesting. Can PFL challenge UFC’s Dominance? Do tell us in the comments below.

Watch this story: Charles Oliveira’s Latest Sparring Footage Before the Islam Makhachev Fight at UFC 294 Leaves Fans in Awe

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Written by:

Suryakant Das

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Suryakant Das is a passionate fan of UFC, mixed martial arts, and bodybuilding. Alongside his passion for sports activities, he is training to be a chartered accountant and has previously worked as a content lead in varied organizations. Suryakant's writing reveals a unique perspective on the world of MMA, enriched by his hunger to consume the latest happenings in the sport.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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