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Dana White Criticizes Bellator-PFL Merger, Citing Concerns for MMA

Dana White, the CEO of the UFC, has voiced his disapproval of the recent merger between Bellator and the Professional Fighters League (PFL), stating that it will have negative repercussions for the sport of MMA as a whole.

Under the merger agreement, Bellator will be integrated into the PFL as part of the newly established Bellator International Champions Series, which will feature eight annual events, each showcasing two title fights. While Bellator will initially maintain its separate identity, White believes that the eventual consolidation of the two organizations will limit options for fighters, both present and future, during free agency.

"Taking away an option for fighters in free agency is bad for fighters currently and those coming up," White expressed after UFC 296.

White emphasized that the merger reduces opportunities for fighters to compete at the highest level of MMA, which he views as detrimental to the sport's overall health and growth.

The merger also positions the combined Bellator-PFL entity as a more significant competitor to the UFC, a development that has reportedly caused concern for White. Donn Davis, a key figure in the PFL, suggested that White's increased public commentary on the PFL in recent months reflects his unease about the organization's rising prominence.

"Everybody knows Dana well enough that he only dismisses things that worry him. Or else he just doesn’t comment," Davis remarked on The MMA Hour. "He’s commented on the PFL a lot (in) the last six months, you’re worried…
He’s smart and he knows that. UFC ain’t the NFL, we are not the XFL, but he wants you to think that. It’s just a matter of time before that starts to get more well-known and we aren’t number two and we are a co-leader and he doesn’t want that."

While White's concerns about the impact of the Bellator-PFL merger on MMA are evident, the full implications of this development remain uncertain. However, White's stance aligns with the sentiments expressed by several managers who also believe that the consolidation is unfavorable for fighters and the sport as a whole.


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