Exclusive – Luke Thomas insists ‘It’s not possible’ for PFL to compete with the UFC: ‘It cannot be done’

Luke Thomas on PFL vs. UFC

Luke Thomas doesn’t see any possible way for the PFL to compete with the UFC.

2023 was a fairly big year for the Professional Fighters League. The promotion made headlines when they announced their blockbuster signing of former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. In addition, the PFL inked a deal with social media star Jake Paul and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund acquired a minority stake in the promotion.

Of course, the biggest bit of PFL news came when founder Donn Davis revealed that they had acquired Bellator MMA and all the talent signed to the Scott Coker-led fight company.

Speaking with Mike Owens in a LowKick MMA exclusive interview, Morning Kombat’s Luke Thomas suggested that all of these big-money moves could translate to success in the new year, but believes the PFL’s biggest obstacle will be getting eyes on their product and fans in the arena, particularly stateside.

“I think there’s a lot of potential. We don’t really know if Francis is gonna fight in MMA in 2024,” Thomas said. “I tend to think he probably doesn’t, but even if he ends up fighting a nobody, that’s still better than what the PFL has. Obviously, it’d be better if they had a second name. It takes two names to promote a pay-per-view and they don’t have that right now, but something that could potentially be great for them is Jake Paul fighting on that card against somebody that people care about like Dillon Danis. That could be potentially big for them.

“Putting together some kind of event where they could pull 10,000 or 20,000 people. They pulled 20,000 when they went to France. They’ve pulled good cards when they went to the 3Arena [in Dublin], but in the United States, I went to one in my hometown, Washington D.C. and they had less than 3,000. And they were pretty happy with that. It’s tough to draw here.

“If they can solve that problem, that would be great. If they can get their numbers solidly above 400,000 viewers… They typically hover at 300,000 or below and sometimes below 200,000. That has to categorically change.”

Luke Thomas Believes ‘Pure Luck’ is the only thing that will help the PFL

Following the announcement of PFL’s purchase of Bellator, Donn Davis suggested that his promotion will eventually be a co-leader in the world of MMA, sharing the throne that the UFC currently occupies all by its lonesome.

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Aside from a few extenuating circumstances, Thomas doesn’t see any future where the PFL can stand side-by-side with the UFC, let alone compete with the Las Vegas-based juggernaut.

“It is not possible for the PFL to compete with the UFC,” Thomas continued. “It is actually in the real world, not possible. It cannot be done. There is nothing that they can do to bridge that gap. So when we’re talking about a successful 2024 for them, I think getting a little bit of luck. Somebody defecting inside the ranks of the UFC. That would be just pure luck. That would be good.

“The court case, the antitrust case [against the UFC], if that ends up having an effect, and of course, there could be challenges to any kind of verdict that goes against the UFC, but nevertheless, opening up that possibility of what that could mean. There’s just a lot of ways that… Here’s the reality, folks. Unless the United States Congress gets involved by passing the Muhammad Ali Act to MMA, or this antitrust case really railroads the UFC, or there is some kind of internal scandal that just makes the UFC collapse overnight, there is nothing that PFL, Bellator, ONE, or any other competitor out there can do to actually compete with the UFC.”

Thomas hopes that the PFL can continue to grow and show signs of further success in 2024, even it if means only being a distant second to the empire that Dana White has helped build.

“I hope PFL has a great 2024. They could have a much better 2024 than 2023 and 2023 was a good year for them, all things being what they were, but ultimately, I am telling you how this movie ends,” he concluded.

Watch the full exclusive interview with Luke Thomas:

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