On a recent episode of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Davis criticized the UFC matchmakers over the quality of their postponed event in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Davis pointed to the newly announced PFL vs. Bellator: Champs card as a super event that is truly worthy of being held in Riyadh.
"I don't think it's any coincidence that the UFC's March 2 event was canceled the day before our fight event… That is a poor fight quality card."
Donn Davis says PFL's PPV product will be "as premium as anything you've ever seen on planet earth."
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) January 17, 2024
The announcement of the PFL vs. Bellator super-card came earlier this week, just one day following the UFC’s decision to postpone their own event in Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, the UFC made the choice to push the March 2nd event until June due to the Saudi officials’ displeasure over the quality of the card.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the UFC March 2 card was cancelled the day before our fight [announcement],” Davis said. “Those who know MMA said, ‘That is not a mega-event. That is not worthy of being hosted in Saudi Arabia. That is a poor fight-quality card the UFC put forth on March 2.’”
The aforementioned super-card, was put together quickly following the PFL’s acquisition of Bellator. The event will feature four champion versus champion matches, pitting the PFL’s titleholder against Bellator’s.
Besides the massive number of former and current champions on the card, the PFL decided to add to the festivities by booking fights for Claressa Shields as well as Biaggio Ali Walsh. While both are newcomers to MMA, the star power that Shields brings with her championship boxing background, and the fact the Biaggio is the grandson of the great Muhammad Ali, will add a new level of noteworthiness to the evening.
“Could UFC load up a card and have a mega-card? They could!” Davis continued. “Do they do it that often? They don’t. We’re going to do it every time we do it, and so our partners who are host partners, like Saudi Arabia — our partners who are PPV partners like DAZN or ESPN+, they know they can count on us for these two fights a year, best of the best of the best. That’s how we’re thinking about it in terms of the business model going forward.”
While some details are still coming together, the twelve fights scheduled for the card have been locked in. Additionally, the event is planned to take place at Riyadh’s Kingdom Arena.
PFL vs. Bellator: Champs Full Card: