A new contender emerges in the world of MMA

A new mixed martial arts promotion is looking to launch in 2023

News about a new professional fighting organization called the World Fight League (WFL), was first reported by renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on Sept. 14.

“A number of influential industry individuals have come together to create a new MMA league that is structured more like the NBA/NHL/NFL rather than your typical MMA promotion,” said Helwani in his post on Substack

According to Helwani, the league will contain an athlete association that puts a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with 50/50 revenue share. Furthermore, the promotion would consist of guaranteed contracts, health insurance, career-ending insurance, and a pension plan.

“The new league is structured as a non-profit,” said Helwani on the Sept. 15 edition of “The MMA Hour,” a weekly show he hosts.

Helwani retrieved more information from his sources affiliated with the league, who currently remain anonymous, and wrote on Substack Sept. 17, revealing the promotion’s name while including an image of the WFL’s logo.

A lot of work and planning have been put into the promotion, as Helwani mentioned that “the WFL has been in the works since 2020 and the non-profit was established May 3, 2021.”

The team consists of those in a variety of different domains bringing their expertise together, including many current and former professional athletes from the NBA, NFL, and MMA. 

Experienced amateur fighter Blake Loxton shared his thoughts on the news surrounding the WFL.

“It sounds like it’s a matter of funding kind of thing and a matter of it catching on, I love it. I think it’s a great idea,” said Loxton in an interview on Zoom. 

Loxton is ranked 5th in the Montreal Fight League (MFL) bantamweight division, having last competed July 24, 2021 at MFL 19, getting a TKO victory in the first round.

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is the first major MMA promotion where fighters individually compete in a season. Loxton thinks this will be a big deal in the world of MMA.

“No one’s ever done what they’re doing — as far as whether it means what they’re giving and offering, or even the way it’s structured,” Loxton said.

As accepting as the sport of MMA is, it’s also very unforgiving — anyone can get injured in the world of combat, no matter who they are.

Conor McGregor, the biggest name in MMA, suffered a devastating injury in his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July.

As a matter of fact, it is very rare for a fighter to go into a fight unscathed. Fighting takes a toll on the body, not to mention that training can get really intense, so the prospect of health insurance being offered by the WFL is game changing.

“I can only imagine if you don’t understand the game or have a proper manager, you basically take what they give you,” Loxton said.

Loxton added that organizations such as the UFC will probably assume the WFL will fail until more information comes out. Loxton himself, however, is optimistic about this new approach to MMA.

“I think that no matter what, they’re opening-up the doors for people to try new things. There’s no failing,” Loxton said.

“Hopefully they can see where the kinks go, get them quick, work them out, and then in five to eight years, it will hopefully have some stability to it.”

The WFL will have four conferences: North America, South America, Europe/Africa, and Asia/Oceania, with each conference having a minimum of eight teams and not exceeding 24. There will be 24 fighters per team, with three athletes in each weight division.

The sport has come a long way and seems to be constantly improving; this core-shaking news is certainly intriguing and enlightening. Can the WFL compete with the world’s biggest MMA promotions? Only time will tell.

For more information, visit “Helwani Nose” on Substack.


Graphic by James Fay

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