Dana White and UFC’s Biggest Rivals Told to Be “Akin to the XFL Trying to Ultimately Get Their Players Into the NFL” by Top Executive Ari Emanuel

Published 11/08/2023, 2:00 AM EST

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The UFC under Dana White has seen itself stand head and shoulders above its competition. In the early days of MMA, promotions like Strikeforce and the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) stood out as alternatives in the market. However, the UFC merged with both competitors in the early 2010s to secure its spot as the premier MMA organization in the world.

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With the merger between WWE and the UFC earlier this year under TKO Holdings, the organization feels like it has no rivals to compete against. Recent statements by TKO executive, Ari Emanuel, indicate that the UFC considers rivals like PFL (Professional Fighters League) as “feeder leagues” for the big show!

Dana White and the UFC’s rivals get shut down in comments by TKO executives


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The UFC after its merger with WWE has reported record profits for the year 2023. Publicly released reports indicate that the promotion secured over $600 million in profits this year. The numbers include the profits from revenue from media and content rights, live events, and sponsorship among other factors.

The PFL, the UFC’s rival promotion, has secured a $100 million investment from Saudi Arabia according to recent reports. The deal was a part of the expansion of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund into SRJ Sports Investment. Even though the deal will allow the Middle Eastern country to host more major events, TKO executive, Ari Emanuel stated that he doesn’t consider it competition.


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In a recent earnings call, TKO CEO Ari Emanuel and TKO President and COO Mark Shapiro expressed their confidence in the UFC’s continued strength and growth. Emanuel stated, “Competition’s not new for the UFC or the WWE”


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Shapiro then further explained the UFC’s extensive fighter roster and reputation as the premier destination for fighters worldwide to reinforce its position as the industry leader. He stated, “Ultimately you’re trying to get to the UFC, which is akin to the XFL trying to ultimately get their players into the NFL. That’s what we are. Those are pipeline and feeder properties.”

He also stated that the UFC welcomes competition, recognizing that it can benefit the sport. The UFC and Dana White’s commitment to bringing high-quality events to fans worldwide, along with its unparalleled fighter talent, ensures its ongoing success in the world of mixed martial arts.

The comments come at an interesting time indeed. As of now the PFL is looking to create what its chairman Donn Davis called, “the Champions League of MMA”!

PFL is looking to establish a global league for MMA

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has unveiled its ambitious expansion plans. They include the establishment of regional leagues and a league of champions for MMA fighters. In an interview with Al Jazeera, PFL’s founder and Chairman, Donn Davis, shared insights into the organization’s vision for growth in the Middle East.

PFL is known for its global presence with fighters from 30 countries and broadcasts in 150 countries. And it now aims to bring MMA closer to the fans by creating regional leagues.


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Davis stated in the interview, “We would also like to launch in the Middle East with the best local fighters – all the events in the region, at local prime time, on streaming and broadcast. This whole initiative is to be the Champions League of MMA.

This initiative aims to create the first global system for mixed martial arts. PFL envisions a network of eight regional leagues. With the Middle East being a prime choice due to its passion for combat sports and strong economic support.


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Do you think the UFC and PFL will eventually merge together in the future? Or will there be a rivalry between the two? Can PFL topple the UFC off its throne? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni


One take at a time

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:

Yeswanth Praveen




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