Rory MacDonald

Rory MacDonald sent shockwaves across the mixed martial arts world when it was announced that he had signed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) earlier this month.

After plying his trade in the UFC and Bellator for the past decade, the Canadian will now be competing in a third major organization. But it won’t just be a new promotion as well as new fighters MacDonald will be fighting — it will also be a completely new format.

The PFL has a regular season with a points system — of which MacDonald will be competing at welterweight next year — where the top eight fighters enter the playoffs.

The quarterfinals and semifinals then take place on the same night with the final two competing in the PFL Finals on a later date to not only become the division’s champion, but also take home a $1 million prize.

And PFL CEO Peter Murray is excited to see how MacDonald fares in the new format.

“We’re excited that he’s going to compete in the league,” Murray said in a recent appearance on The Luke Thomas Show. “We’ll see how he takes on this new chapter to get through this kind of format. With the regular season, not just wins and losses, a points system, playoffs. We’ll see how Rory takes on the challenge of fighting twice in one night. Having to win to get into a championship. He’ll have to fight five times to make it into the championship.

“So we’re excited that he recognizes the incredible talent that we have in the PFL. There’s no walk in the park — even for an elite athlete, a fighter such as Rory. That’s what we’re excited about. Rory like any other fighter is going to have to earn his way.”

MacDonald is undoubtedly the highest-profile signing the PFL has made since its rebranding in 2018. And given his credentials, it only serves to show that the promotion is going places.

“It validates the PFL that an athlete of his stature and frankly in his prime wants to come over,” Murray added. “Because of all the things that we provide an athlete and the format and everything we’ve been talking about. And obviously a new belt that is meaningful and real in this sport. Of course, it’s a validator.

“That kid, that athlete. Growing up, aspirations of making it, perhaps in their mind, making it in one organization or another organization. But now there’s absolutely a bonified alternative. A global player with a major platform with top talent. I’ve worked at sports with many athletes across different sports and they want three things — [to] compete against the best, on the largest stage, and be champion.”

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