ROUNDTABLE: Before the rebranding to PFL, where did the World Series of Fighting fit into the MMA landscape?

Considering the recent exodus of talent, where do you feel World Series of Fighting fits into the current MMA landscape?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Our team submitted these answers before yesterday’s news that the World Series of Fighting has rebranded themselves the Professional Fighters League. This is a good time capsule or snapshot of where we believed WSOF was before the major branding and reformatting.)


I loved WSOF. I still do, but it’s clearly a feeder league for the bigger divisions and more likely than not won’t survive on its own. I’m not sure what the suits at WSOF are willing to do to keep the product alive. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the WSOF either scooped up or some how absorbed by the UFC maybe as a feature promotion on UFC fight pass. If they don’t go that route and try to survive on their own, I don’t see it being a successful. Without the big name stars (aside from Jon Fitch and Jake Shields) and the surge of rising talent that helped them get their start, I’m afraid to say it’s only a matter of time before they suffer the same fate as so many other promotions.


WSOF is a nice feeder league for the UFC. They can serve as a proving ground for the cream of the crop as far as young up and comers are concerned. They put on good shows and usually make only meaningful fights (with the exception of the Shields-Fitch fight).


I think World Series of Fighting is on borrowed time at this point. The one thing they have going for them is that they have a good TV outlet. The downside is that TV isn’t bringing them the revenue they need to make enough money to keep running shows. Numbers I’ve heard have NBC Sports Network paying about $150,000 per show, but that a typical show costs over $200,000 to run. It’s too bad because WSOF has done a good job of producing talent; they just can’t afford to keep them. With Bellator becoming more aggressive in recruiting top talent, it’s created a landscape where instead of it being UFC and then everybody else, it’s UFC with Bellator well behind them, but everyone else is lightyears behind. I wouldn’t expect to see WSOF last the year.


The WSOF just needs to become a farm league for the UFC, or try to partner with Bellator or something. They’ve been the no. 3 company for a while, and they might not even be that anymore. They might catch lightning in a bottle and have someone who draws a lot of attention, but eventually that person will move on. That’s all right, because WSOF just needs to think of themselves as the minors, helping fighters grow and improve before moving on towards bigger things. They should focus on trying to make their mark, whatever that mark is. The XFL was another failed football league, but they popularized the overhead on-field camera that the NFL uses all the time now. Do something like that. Maybe they change the way we look at and experience MMA? I know there’s only so much room for innovation, but try new things with the presentation. At this point, what do you have to lose? Who knows, maybe the WSOF creates something we didn’t even know we wanted?


With fighters leaving the UFC left and right and the majority going to Bellator, the WSOF needs to act as a feeder league to the UFC. Much like Invicta is for the UFC’s divisions for women. David Branch is joining the UFC and fighting at UFC 211. Marlon Moraes has left but hasn’t been signed anywhere yet, but would likely go to UFC. This is what needs to happen. WSOF can’t expect to hang with the big two organizations in terms of viewers and profits.


With fighters like Marlon Moraes are leaving the World Series of Fighting, the promotion feels faceless. They have no “gimmick.” The UFC is the show, Bellator is the senior circuit, and Invicta gives female fighters a big platform. WSOF has nothing that makes it special. If they disappeared into one of the ether of FloCombat or UFC Fight Pass, would anyone not getting paid by the promotion care?


It is clearly the no. 3 promotion in the U.S., and probably fourth or fifth in the world. World Series of Fighting has produced a few notable fighters, and still have a few on their roster, but it seems like it’s a clear stepping stone to the UFC or Bellator, and not a place that fighters really want to be. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single notable fighter that has left UFC or Bellator (on their own terms) and headed to WSOF. They have made a habit out of filling cards with title fights, which in my opinion just devalues the whole product. Seems to me that they are saying they cannot have a watchable card, unless it has two or three title fights on it. They have had some good fights, but overall it seems like they are just treading water, as it seems that they are constantly losing champions, and cancelling or postponing cards. I hate that I’ve been so negative, but with promotions rising in Russia, and the continued success of Resin FF and One Championship, one must wonder how fighters view WSOF, and it leaves me wondering how much longer they will be around as an alternative for fighters.  If they are content serving as a sort of unofficial feeder league, then they might be around for a while longer, but any attempt to compete with the big boys, in my opinion, would be a bad decision.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: ROUNDTABLE: Which opponent did you want to see Jon Jones fight more – Rumble Johnson or Daniel Cormier?

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