Some of the PFL’s biggest fights will head to the Middle East next year as part of a deal struck by the promotion and SRJ Sports Investments, a company launched earlier this month by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
It was announced Wednesday that SRJ has acquired a minority stake in the PFL. Although figures weren’t released, Sportico reported that SRJ’s investment is worth more than $100 million. PFL broadcast partner ESPN subsequently confirmed the amount.
As part of the agreement, the PFL pay-per-view super fight events will be held in Saudi Arabia in 2024, with the first show expected to take place during the first quarter of the new year. This means the PFL debuts of former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and YouTuber-turned-pro-boxer Jake Paul, who signed with the promotion earlier this year, are expected to take place overseas.
SRJ will be invested in PFL MENA, a new branch of the promotion that will launch in 2024 and support the PFL’s expansion into Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
“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.”
Although this is Saudi Arabia’s first venture into MMA, the country is no stranger to combat sports, having recently hosted and financed major boxing and WWE events. Riyadh, the country’s capital, is set to host the upcoming boxing match between Ngannou and heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Oct. 28.