President and co-founder of the Professional Fighters League (PFL), Ray Sefo is an old-school MMA legend who believes his promotional company combines the best parts of the sport’s past with the most important things from today’s world.
Add to it the special mixture of impressive talents from the likes of CEO Peter Murray and co-founder and chairman Donn Davis, the PFL appears poised to become the UFC’s most dangerous competition.
And Sefo knows what it takes to topple giants.
During his professional fighting days, Sefo defeated the likes of Bob Sapp and Hong Man Choy, kickboxers that outweighed Sefo by more than 100 pounds on fight night.
“When you’re a competitor, it’s a fun challenge…at the same time, you don’t realize the danger in it when you see him put other guys to sleep,” Sefo said.
You can watch Sefo stop Sapp at K-1 Beast 2004 in Japan below.
It’s similar to what Sefo and the PFL are planning to do to their promotional rivals.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
PFL Is Different
The 2021 season begins April 23 on ESPN2 and ESPN+.
One of the biggest things the PFL has going for it is that it’s different.
As involved as Sefo is with filling the PFL’s roster with top talents, scheduling fights, and making sure the competition is top-notch, the PFL’s fighters actually control their own destinies thanks to the league’s unique format.
“I think it’s great going in the cage and knowing that the outcomes, output, and hard work you put in there will eventually pay off,” Sefo said.
Unlike the UFC or other top MMA promotional companies, the PFL has a regular season and playoffs. Fighters compete all season long for positioning and the end of the season features tournaments for each weight class.
“By the end of the year, you’re fighting for a world title and a million dollars. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Sefo said.
So the PFL is essentially a combination of two of the most powerful entities in sports: the UFC and the National Football League (NFL).
“It’s the American way of sports. You go into a regular season. You qualify for the playoffs. Then, the winners get into the semi-finals and the championship,” Sefo said.
PFL Is Passionate
There might not be a more passionate fanbase in the world than MMA fans, and the people over in the PFL’s offices are just as enthusiastic about what they’re doing with their lives.
“We have an amazing team,” Sefo said. “I just love that their passion is the same as mine, and the whole team…is just amazing people. When you have the whole team so passionate about what they do…it’s truly amazing.”
It’s one thing to say something like that. It’s quite another to have shown it all year in 2020 during the global pandemic. The PFL canceled the 2020 season last year due to COVID-19, but Sefo and the rest of his crew used the time to take the PFL to the next level.
“We weren’t just sitting around. Although we weren’t having live shows, the team was hard at work,” Sefo said.
Sefo said the PFL worked every day during the pandemic. They were plotting their climb to the top of the sports world, and now Sefo believes his company is ready to show the MMA world exactly where it stands in relation to other top promotional companies like the UFC and Bellator MMA.
“It puts us at another level in the game. We’re continuing to climb. I’m so excited about season 3. People are just absolutely going to be in love with the PFL this year,” Sefo said.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
PFL’s Roster Is Stacked
PFL’s latest roster is stacked with talent.
“It’s gonna be amazing. We’ve elevated the roster this year,” Sefo said.
Competing in the PFL this season for the first time are three of the PFL’s biggest signings ever: former MMA world champs Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Fabricio Werdum, and Rory MacDonald.
But superstars from the PFL’s previous season are also set to return including 2019 women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison as well as the men’s champs at featherweight, Lance Palmer, and lightweight, Natan Schulte.
Additionally, two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division boxing champ Claressa Shields is set to make her MMA debut in 2021 with the PFL with the plan of competing in the PFL’s women’s lightweight tournament next season.
“I’m so excited. I can’t wait for the shows to kick off,” Sefo said.
The 2021 PFL Season begins April 23 on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ in primetime.
The PFL’s remaining regular-season events are scheduled for April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25.
“Our goal is to put the best fights on that we can,” Sefo said.
You can watch the entire interview with Sefo below.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel