SRJ Sports Investments, a company launched earlier this month by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has acquired a minority stake in mixed martial arts promotion Professional Fighters League, it was announced Wednesday.
As part of the agreement, SRJ will also be an investor in a new regional league called PFL MENA, which will launch in 2024, and will support PFL’s expansion into Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The upcoming PFL pay-per-view Super Fight events will be held in Saudi Arabia.
SRJ’s commitment to the PFL is worth more than $100 million, sources confirmed to ESPN after a report from Sportico. One source told ESPN that the deal “could be worth substantially more” than that number in the future.
The first Super Fight will be in the first quarter of 2024, the PFL said in its announcement. It mentioned that former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and YouTuber-turned-prizefighter Jake Paul will both fight for PFL on pay-per-view next year.
“PFL’s mission is to become the global co-leader in MMA with our fighter-first mission and disruptive sport-season format,” PFL founder and chairman Donn Davis said in a statement. “This investment by SRJ continues the monumental growth that PFL has experienced throughout the world, and there is no better partner in global sports than SRJ.”
This is Saudi Arabia’s first official foray into mixed martial arts, although it has been active in combat sports over the past several years, hosting and financing major boxing and WWE events. The country has been aggressive in its investments in soccer, golf, Formula One racing and cycling, among other sports.
According to the release, PFL plans to launch six international regional leagues by 2026, what it called the first “Champions League of MMA.” PFL Europe started earlier this year, and PFL MENA will launch in the second quarter of 2024 with a “four-event sport-season format” schedule announced in the fall.