An incredibly ambitious format of fighting is being brought to the MMA world, and it wants to get one thing straight: it’s a league, not a promotion.
World Fight League commissioner Darren Owen appeared for an interview Wednesday on “The MMA Hour,” providing details about an upcoming team-based MMA league that he hopes can launch in early 2023.
The WFL plans to launch a worldwide league for MMA that reimagines it as a team-based sport like most major sports leagues.
“All we’re trying to do is evolve these athletes and this sport to the same level as all those other major professional leagues,” said Owen in an interview Wednesday.
The promotion is planning to sign 192 fighters in 2022, with that roster making up eight teams of 24.
The teams will consist of three fighters in eight weight classes. For men, it is expected that heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight and featherweight will compete. For women, the league is interested in bantamweight and flyweight fighters.
While the promotion hopes to create a worldwide league that can consist of four conferences (North America, South America, Europe/Africa and Asia/Oceania), the plan is for the 2023 launch to take place in North America exclusively.
Commissioner Owen claims the league can “fix” problems in the sport of MMA. They have most notably proposed a plan to pay fighters 50 percent of the revenue generated from events – an amount that is similar to the level of revenue that athletes earn in other major sports.
The promotion hopes to launch its first event on February 5th in 2023 and does not have a broadcast partner set up at the moment.
While the MMA market doesn’t offer any team-based events at the moment, it is not a completely new format to the sport.
The International Fight League notably ran from 2006 to 2008, with teams based on MMA gyms facing one another.
In India, the Super Fight League attempted an eight-team format that would conclude with a four-team knockout bracket.
While not running a team format, the PFL runs a season format that begins with regular season bouts and wraps up within a year through a playoff format. Their third season concluded in October, where they crowned six new champions.