Grading the 5 major MMA promotions

There are five major promotions in the world, but who is the best of them?
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
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Grade: B

The PFL was not the first MMA organization to use a regular season-and-playoffs format (that would be the International Fight League in the 2000s). But it has arguably turned that concept into a viable differentiator from the competition.

The rules for a PFL season are relatively simple. Tournaments are held in six weight classes, each with 10 fighters. Each fighter competes three times.

A win is worth three points. Finishes are highly encouraged, with bonus points for every win within the distance: +3 if in the first round, +2 if in the second, and +1 if in the third.

The top four fighters in each group advance to the semifinals, where losing means going home. The two winners then meet in the finals for $1 million - a very large payday to whoever wins.

The PFL has long been considered some sort of second wind for former UFC fighters like Anthony Pettis, Jeremy Stephens, and Aspen Ladd. However, it does have its own homegrown star in Kayla Harrison, who dominated the women's lightweight division for two seasons before being surprisingly defeated by Larissa Pacheco in 2022.

But things are only improving for the PFL after 2023. The promotion this year landed former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and social media star Jake Paul, among others, for its big-money Super Fight Series, which could dramatically change the landscape of MMA if handled properly.