The Professional Fighters League announced the continuation of its partnership with DraftKings on Wednesday to feature pick’em style games aimed at increasing fan engagement for the upcoming PFL playoffs and championship.
The PFL is a league-based MMA promotion where fighters compete in a different format than typically found in fighting sports. That format includes a regular season, playoff and championship structure where fighters in each weight class compete for points by facing off against each other until a season winner is crowned.
Instead of rankings or one-off promotions done on a fight-by-fight basis, the PFL features overall season standings such as those found in traditional team sports like MLB baseball. At the end of the regular season, which consists of two fights, the top athletes in each weight class compete against each other in the playoffs until a world champion is crowned.
The pick’em action kicks off when the 2019 PFL playoffs begin next month. The 2019 PFL Playoffs begin October 11 and continue on the 17th and 31st of the same month. Those fights will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and telecast by ESPN2 and ESPN+.
The 2019 PFL Playoffs Bracket Challenge will work like a standard pick’em style game. Players will pick winners for each quarterfinal fight as well as two fighters from the overall bracket to advance to the championship. Semifinal picks are worth double points, and up to $30,000 in prize money is up for grabs overall.
There will also be a pick’em game for the 2019 PFL World Championship fights. Those bouts will crown the PFL champion for each of the league’s six divisions, and pick’em contest winners will compete for up to $20,000.
The 2019 PFL World Championship Pick’Em Game will also work like a standard pick’em style game, except that the leaderboard will track points based on picking outright winners, methods of victory, rounds and time.
The 2019 PFL World Championship event is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 31 in New York. The venue is yet to be determined.
In the MMA world, the PFL is akin to minor league baseball except that the goal of the company is to take over as the major league club instead of staying down on the farm. The PFL grew out of the World Series of Fighting promotion in 2018 after a group of investors, mostly sports and entertainment moguls, gathered as investors to purchase the company.
The PFL continues to make inroads in an MMA world dominated by the UFC thanks in large part to innovative engagement programs like these DraftKings pick’em games as well as its recent signing of a two-year broadcast deal with ESPN.
While the PFL hasn’t quite usurped UFC for MMA dominance or even really caught up to Bellator for that matter, there’s no telling how the promotion might grow over the next few years.