Professional Fighters League Brings MMA Action to Thursday Nights Across ESPN Platforms

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Professional Fighters League Brings MMA Action to Thursday Nights Across ESPN Platforms

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  • PFL 1 Premieres May 9 on ESPN+, ESPN2 and the ESPN App
  • Women’s Lightweight Division Debut Headlined by Two-Time U.S. Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison

The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the first organization ever to present MMA through a regular season, playoffs and championship, is set to launch across ESPN platforms on Thursday, May 9, LIVE from NYCB, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Long Island, N.Y.  PFL’s 2019 season kickoff will be highlighted by the debut of the Women’s Lightweight Division, headlined by two-time U.S. Olympic Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison taking on Brazil native, and jiu jitsu specialist, Larissa Pacheco who enters the season with 11 career wins, all by stoppage.

PFL 1 Welterweight and Women’s Lightweight action begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+, then the action continues on ESPN2 and the ESPN App in Spanish at 9:00 p.m. ET. All matches on ESPN+ are also available in Spanish.

This season, the PFL will further integrate its SmartCage and Cagenomics technology to the broadcast experience, delivering dynamic, real-time data and analytics on fighter performance that will bring fans inside the cage like never before.

Fans will witness the 2019 season debuts of Kayla Harrison, and former Strikeforce and Invicta FC Bantamweight champion, Sarah Kaufman, in MMA’s first-ever Women’s Lightweight division. Kaufman squares off against Morgan Frier, who enters the PFL season on a four-fight win streak.

2018 PFL Welterweight champion Magomed Magomedkerimov will begin his title defense against Boston native John Howard, who is moving down in weight to compete in a stacked division. Additionally, a Hawaiian rivalry will be settled as 2018 PFL breakout star Ray Cooper III takes on his cousin, and fellow Hawaiian, Zane Kamaka.

ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicks off Tuesday, May 7, with a replay of two PFL Original Productions – “The Selection,” which offers a behind-the-scenes look into the highly competitive selection process for the 2019 PFL roster and “PFL Best of 2018: Through the Eyes of Champions,” which highlights the biggest moments and best stories from the inaugural 2018 PFL season, through the eyes of three of last season’s champions. The shows will air across ESPN2 several times throughout fight week.

ESPN+ will feature the exclusive PFL 1 Pre-Show on Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. ET, to prepare fans for all of Thursday’s regular season action. ESPN+ will also feature the exclusive PFL 1 Post-Show, live immediately following the event.

Calling the live action for PFL 1 will be play-by-play announcer and 2018 PFL Light Heavyweight champion, Sean O’Connell. Alongside O’Connell serving as color analysts will be UFC Hall-of-Famer, Randy “The Natural” Couture, and former UFC Lightweight, Yves Edwards. Caroline Pearce will host the nights action, and former WWE Ring Announcer Lilian Garcia will introduce fighters to the cage as the In-Cage Announcer of the PFL.

ESPN.com coverage of PFL 1 includes a feature story on Kayla Harrison from Myron Medcalf, a breakdown of the contenders and sleepers in every PFL division and a video feature from Ariel Helwani explaining the PFL’s is distinctive competition format. ESPN.com will be on site on Thursday and providing live recaps and results as the fights take place.

MMA fans can sign up for ESPN+ at www.espnplus.com or through the ESPN App.

The ESPN social team will again bring fans images, stories and information throughout the week and weekend, on the @ESPNMMA handles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

All times ET

Wed. 5/8 6:30 p.m. PFL1 Pre Show ESPN+
Thur., 5/9 6:30 p.m. PFL 1 Fight Card 

Women’s Lightweight: Roberta Samad (Brazil) (4-1) vs. Moriel Charneski (Austin, TX) (3-5)

Welterweight: Andre Fialho (Portugal) (10-1) vs. Chris Curtis (Cincinnati, OH) (20-5)

Welterweight: Gamzat Khiramagomedov (Russia) (6-0) vs. Glaico Franca (Brazil)

(19-5)

Women’s Lightweight: Genah Fabian (New Zealand) (1-0) vs. Bobbi Jo Dalziel (Canada)
(4-0)

Welterweight: Handesson Ferreira (Brazil) (13-2-1) vs. Bojan Velickovic (Serbia)

(16-8-2)

ESPN+ (Live) English/Spanish
9:00 p.m. PFL 1 Fight Card

Welterweight: Sadibou Sy (Sweden) (7-4-1) vs. David Michaud (Phoenix, AZ) (15-4)

Women’s Lightweight: Sarah Kaufman (Canada) (20-4-0, 1 NC) vs. Morgan Frier (Las Vegas, NV) (4-1)

Welterweight: Ray Cooper III (Hawaii) (17-6) vs. Zane Kamaka (Hawaii) (13-3)

Welterweight: Magomed Magomedkerimov (Russia) (23-5) vs. John Howard (Boston, MA) (27-14-1)

Women’s Lightweight: Kayla Harrison (Middletown, OH) (3-0) vs. Larissa Pacheco (Brazil)
(11-2)

ESPN2, ESPN App (Spanish)
11:00 p.m. (approx.) ET PFL1 Post Show ESPN+ (Live)

About Professional Fighters League

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) presents MMA for the first time in the sport-season format where individual fighters control their own destiny, competing in a regular season, playoffs, and championship.  PFL’s differentiated format and exciting fights sparked breakout growth for the league. PFL events are Thursday nights primetime live on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

The PFL 2019 Season features elite MMA athletes across six weight classes, including the first-ever 155-pound women’s division, with each fighter having two fights during the PFL Regular Season in May, June, July, and August.  The top eight fighters in each weight class advance to the single-elimination PFL Playoffs in October, where fighters must fight twice and win twice in the same night to advance to the finals.  PFL Championship is New Year’s Eve with the winners of each title bout being crowned PFL World Champion of their respective weight class and earning $1 million.  Viewers will be delivered next-gen stats never before seen in MMA through the PFL’s proprietary SmartCage™ platform and Cagenomics™ technology.

PFL is backed by an investor group of sports, media, entertainment, and business titans.  Watch PFL live Thursday nights in the U.S. on ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes. PFL is also available in 130 countries around the world with leading local broadcasters.

For more info visit www.PFLmma.com and follow PFL on Instagram (@PFLmma), Twitter (@ProFightLeague), and Facebook (/ProFightLeague).

About ESPN

ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise, features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN International, ESPN The Magazine and more.  ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights and events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com, the industry-leading all-in-one digital sports platform, delivering a rich, personalized experience to tens of millions of fans every month.

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