Channel 4 signs MMA broadcast deal with PFL as sport’s UK takeover continues

The PFL is an American-based MMA promotion that utilises a play-off format unique within the sport

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 08 February 2022 13:51
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<p>Claressa Shields and Brendan Loughnane outside C4 HQ</p>

Claressa Shields and Brendan Loughnane outside C4 HQ

Channel 4 has announced a broadcast deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), as mixed martial arts’ growth in the UK continues.

The PFL is an American-based MMA promotion that utilises a play-off format unique within the sport, and its deal with Channel 4 comes days after the BBC announced a renewed partnership with Bellator.

Channel 4 will be the sole UK broadcaster of PFL events in 2022.

A statement released by C4 on Tuesday read: “Under the terms of the deal, Channel 4 platforms will carry the PFL’s inaugural Challenger Series, along with the 2022 PFL Regular Season which gets under way on 20 April and includes the Playoffs, and PFL World Championship.

“Additionally, Channel 4 will bring MMA fans exclusive PFL content including original content from both PFL Studios and Channel 4’s in-house digital agency 4Studios and classic explosive archival footage from the 2019-2021 seasons.”

At a London event attended by The Independent on Tuesday, PFL CEO Peter Murray was joined by women’s boxing champion Claressa Shields – who has twice competed in MMA under the PFL banner – as well as British fighter Brendan Loughnane, and Channel 4’s Louisa Compton, who serves as the broadcaster’s Head of News and Current Affairs and Specialist Factual and Sport.

Murray said, “This partnership really illustrates that MMA is not niche anymore, it’s mainstream,” before Compton added: “We’re so excited to be bringing this sport to a UK audience – one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

“The PFL share our passion for innovation and have shaken up the world of MMA.

“We will make MMA so much more accessible than boxing. What attracted us to it was seeing the huge growth area in 16-34 year olds. Also, the women’s parity is important to us; we want to grow a female audience.”

Men’s and women’s fighters who win the PFL play-off final in their respective weight classes are awarded $1million in prize money.

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