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PFL to hold 2021 Regular Season in NBA-like bubble

Anthony Pettis (left); Rory Macdonald (right)
Anthony Pettis (left); Rory Macdonald (right)
Johny Payne
Modified 06 Mar 2021

The PFL (Professional Fighters League) is set to hold its 2021 regular season in an NBA-like bubble at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The events will take place in a bubble environment to protect the PFL athletes, staff and everyone else involved from potentially contracting the COVID-19 virus.

The first major MMA promotion to utilise a season format to present its events, the PFL has grown in leaps and bounds since its inaugural season in 2018. Unlike most other MMA promotions, the PFL doesn’t organise events all year round. It instead has a regular season, post-season and a championship phase.

As noted in the PFL’s latest press release, the PFL 2021 season will commence on April 23rd. A few excerpts from the press release read as follows:

“The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, today announced that its 2021 Regular Season will be held in a state-of-the-art bubble environment at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ.”
“The PFL is returning to Ocean Casino Resort following exceptional experiences in previous seasons, with the newly renovated and expansive footprint at the venue’s Ovation Hall allowing the company’s industry-leading production team to create an unparalleled made-for-TV and streaming regular season. At this juncture, there will be no fans in attendance.”
“The 2021 PFL season will air on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in primetime. The remaining Regular Season events will take place on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17 and June 25.”

It was once again reiterated that the health and safety of the PFL fighters and staff is paramount for the organisation, along with maintaining the integrity of the PFL season format. It has been notified that the PFL fighters would have to arrive at the bubble 17 days before their fights. They’ll also undergo quarantine and adhere to other safety measures.

Moreover, the PFL noted that they’re working with leading health experts and will ensure that the requisite health protocols will be followed at its events. Some of the requirements at the PFL events would be wearing masks, daily COVID-19 tests, and the fighters obligated to stay away from each other in the lead-up to their fights.


PFL hints at great things to come in 2021

Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum

The consensus in the MMA world is that the 2021 calendar year is likely to be a big year for the PFL.

World-renowned fighters like former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and former UFC welterweight title challenger and former Bellator welterweight champion Rory Macdonald are scheduled to debut in the PFL this year.

PFL CEO Peter Murray said in his address:

“PFL is excited to be back on ESPN to showcase our MMA 2.0 product – featuring returning champions, new star signings and next generation SmartCage technology innovation.”
“Our six regular -eason events will be staged at the world-class Ocean Casino Resort, where we’ve held successful events in the past. The property has all of the necessary amenities to support our athletes in a bubble environment to ensure their safety as it relates to COVID-19.”
Published 06 Mar 2021, 09:31 IST
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