PFL cuts several fighters after suspending 2020 season

PFL cuts several fighters after suspending 2020 season

Professional Fighters League decided to pay athletes a monthly stipend for the remainder of 2020 after suspending the entire season amid the coronavirus pandemic. But not all fighters made the cut.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s business told MMA Fighting that PFL president Ray Sefo sent two different emails to athletes on the roster. One group was informed that “PFL has set up a program to pay each fighter” as a “bonus” that “will not need to be repaid or deducted from any future pay.”

A separate group, however, received a different message. Sefo wrote that the decision to “reschedule” the entire season was “made together with ESPN,” and those fighters had their contracts “terminated,” leaving them “formally released to compete elsewhere effective immediately.”

PFL CEO Peter Murray on Tuesday told Fansided the promotion is keeping “the significant majority, over two-thirds” of the fighters on the roster. A PFL spokesperson declined follow-up questions on the fighter cuts, which were first reported by MMA Brasil.

According to one fighter who spoke to MMA Fighting, PFL has yet to inform the athletes how much money they will be paid monthly. Another said the promotion will pay $1,000 per month.

MMA Fighting obtained emails sent to athletes who were retained and released. You can read them below.

[Email sent to released fighters]

This note is to update you on the status of the 2020 PFL season.

Like all major sports leagues, the Professional Fighters League has been closely monitoring the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been in regular communication with government health authorities, athletic commissions, business partners, the fight community, and major sports leaders to assess all reasonable scenarios for successfully conducting the PFL 2020 season.

After careful consideration, it is clear that the only option to safely complete a full season is to reschedule the PFL season for next year.

This decision, made together with ESPN, is based on numerous factors, including safeguarding the health of the fighters, fans, partners, and event personnel and preserving the integrity of the PFL full sport-season format.

We therefore are providing this notice pursuant to Section 17.3 and/or 17.4 of your Exclusive Promotional Fight Agreement with the PFL that your agreement is terminated and you are formally released to compete elsewhere effective immediately.

We hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy and wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Ray Sefo

[Email sent to athletes who will remain on the roster]

This note is to update you on the status of the 2020 PFL season.

PFL has worked with our media partner ESPN to reschedule the upcoming 2020 Season for Spring 2021, as discussed in the attached press statement.

Like all major sports leagues, the Professional Fighters League has been closely monitoring the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been in regular communication with government health authorities, athletic commissions, business partners, the fight community, and major sports leaders to assess all reasonable scenarios for successfully conducting the PFL 2020 season.

After careful consideration, it is clear that the only option to safely complete a full season is to reschedule the PFL season for next year. This decision, made together with ESPN, is based on numerous factors, including safeguarding the health of the fighters, fans, partners, and event personnel and preserving the integrity of the PFL full sport-season format.

We therefore are providing this notice of force majeure under your Exclusive Promotional Fight Agreement with the PFL to postpone the next Full Season to be rescheduled to start in Spring 2021.

To help support our fighters in these extraordinary times, PFL has set up a program to pay each fighter a monthly cash stipend for the second half of 2020.

This monthly cash payment is a bonus from PFL to fighters and will not need to be repaid or deducted from any future pay. You will receive details about your monthly cash stipend later this week.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ray Sefo or Jim Bramson.

Our thoughts continue to be with all those impacted by COVID-19. We hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy. PFL strives to be a positive influence as we continue to evolve and grow the sport of MMA, and we look forward to emerging together stronger.

Sincerely,

Ray Sefo

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