PFL’s Donn Davis takes shot after UFC postpones ‘poor’ Saudi Arabia event: “I don’t think it’s any coincidence”

By Josh Evanoff - January 17, 2024

PFL executive Donn Davis believes that it’s not a coincidence that the UFC recently moved their March Saudi Arabia event.

Donn Davis and Dana White

The rising organization is primed for a big, big 2024. With names such as Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul poised to finally make their promotional debut this year, the PFL is excited about their future. A big part of that future is the influx of cash from Saudi Arabia.

The country has taken a heavy interest in combat sports over the last year or two. They’ve famously attracted big boxing matches there, such as Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk. Furthermore, they have working deals with both the PFL and the UFC.

The Dana White-led promotion was set to take the promotion there in March, for their first event in Saudi Arabia. However, earlier this week, the Fight Night was formally postponed to June. The announcement came around the same time that the PFL announced their card in the Middle East, slated for February.

Appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, PFL executive Donn Davis stated that the announcement wasn’t a coincidence. In his eyes, the UFC attempted to put forth a ‘poor’ fight card, which led to Saudi Arabia stepping in and wanting a better return on their investment.

However, Davis is confident that won’t be the case moving forward for them. On February 24th, he will head to Saudi Arabia to promote their first event, in the form of PFL vs. Bellator. That card features names such as Ryan Bader and Patricio Pitbull, as well as the return of Claressa Shields.


PFL cage

Image from the PFL

PFL executive Donn Davis mocks the UFC after Saudi Arabia card is postponed

“We need to establish our superfight division, and we’re only having two [events] each year in the pay-per-view superfight division.” Donn Davis stated to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour earlier today. “That has a different platform for fighters, like Francis Ngannou. Like Jake Paul, like Kayla Harrison, like Cris Cyborg. There are fighters who fight differently, there are brands that sponsor differently.”

He continued, “There are partners who get involved differently, with that caliber of event. So we only have two a year, and we’ve always said that we want those two a year to be as premium as you’ve ever seen on planet Earth. Whether it’s from UFC, or otherwise. We believe we’ve accomplished that with this kind of fight card. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the UFC’s March 2nd event was canceled the day before our fight event.”

“…That is not worthy of being hosted in Saudi Arabia.” Donn Davis concluded. “That is a poor fight quality card the UFC put forth on March 2nd. Could UFC load up a card and have a mega card? They could. Do they do it that often? They don’t.”

What do you make of these comments from PFL’s Donn Davis? Do you agree with his thoughts on the UFC?


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