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Japanese streaming service U-Next secures deal with Professional Fighters League


U-Next, a prominent Japanese streaming service, has commenced a significant multi-year partnership with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a leading organisation in mixed martial arts (MMA).

Under the terms of the agreement announced yesterday, U-Next will serve as the exclusive home for PFL events, including the Global Regular Season, PFL Europe and PFL Middle East and Africa (MENA) competitions, as well as archival content. Additionally, U-Next will feature action from Bellator, the MMA series acquired by PFL in late 2023.

This collaboration follows closely on the heels of U-Next’s recent partnership with ONE Championship, a premier MMA promotion based in Singapore. Through this agreement, U-Next will offer its Japanese audience exclusive live and on-demand access to ONE Championship events, complete with both English and Japanese commentary.

The U-Next-PFL deal will kick off with the pay-per-view coverage of the highly anticipated PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions event, set to take place in Saudi Arabia on February 24.

“We are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with the Professional Fighters League, the world’s most premiere mixed martial arts organisation,” stated Tension Tsutsumi, CEO of U-Next.

“Beginning with PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions, U-Next will continue to deliver the greatest MMA content to Japanese fans and look forward to solidifying our position as the premiere destination for mixed martial arts.”

James Frewin, Senior Vice President of International for PFL, added, “A core component of our global expansion strategy is to partner with leading media platforms in key territories around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited about this multi-year agreement with U-Next to bring the best in MMA to fans in Japan.”

In addition to its partnerships in Japan, the PFL has been expanding its reach across various regions. This month, the organisation announced a multi-year extension of its Latin American media rights partnership with international sports broadcaster DirecTV. This agreement will see DirecTV remain the exclusive partner for PFL events in Latin American markets such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, excluding Brazil and Mexico. In January, the PFL secured a partnership with streaming service DAZN for coverage in France.

The PFL, based in the United States, is a relatively new player in combat sports, having launched its inaugural event in 2018. The organisation is backed by SRJ Sports Investments, a sports-focused investment vehicle launched by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which acquired a minority stake in the promotion for $100 million in August.

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