A company formed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a minority stake in the United States’ Professional Fighters League (PFL) and will create a regional tournament as the kingdom’s sports investment push expands into mixed martial arts (MMA).
The acquisition announced on Wednesday is the first deal sealed by SRJ Sports Investments, a new company unveiled earlier this month by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), that aims to draw “major global events” to Saudi Arabia.
“Today marks a new milestone for SRJ as we make our inaugural investment,” SRJ chairman Bander Bin Mogren said in a statement. “This investment aims to nurture the local and regional talent pool in martial arts, promote gender equality in sport, and bring new opportunities directly to Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region.”
PFL will launch its MENA (Middle East and North Africa) league next year and will stage other “mega-events” in Saudi Arabia, Wednesday’s announcement said.
“PFL’s mission is to become the global co-leader in MMA with our fighter-first mission and disruptive sport-season format,” said PFL founder and chairman, Donn Davis. “This investment by SRJ continues the monumental growth that PFL has experienced throughout the world, and there is no better partner in global sports than SRJ.”
The value of the deal was not disclosed, but the Financial Times reported it was $100m.