Major League Baseball has the minor leagues; the NBA has the D-League; the NHL has the AHL; and the NFL has college football.
All the major sports leagues have "feeder systems" and now Southern California fight promoter and sports entrepreneur Roy Englebecht has decided that mixed martial arts also needs its own legitimate minor league system.
In an effort to help develop the next generation of MMA stars while providing investors a chance to own their own professional sports franchise, Englebrecht announced Wednesday the launch of the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League (PMMAL).
Set to begin play in early 2010, the PMMAL (www.pmmal.com) will award charter ownerships to teams in eight specific areas including six Southern California counties and Las Vegas.
"The time has finally arrived for mixed martial arts and for the PMMAL," stated Englebrecht. "As a club promoter of MMA since it was approved in California in 2006, I know first-hand the struggle young fighters have in trying to get fights, and the major struggles small mixed martial arts promoters encounter just trying to promote a show, give the fighters and fans a good experience, and most important -- hopefully turn a small profit.
"Now with the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League, some of the best young MMA fighters competing today can be part of a team, know when and where they will fight each month, and be paid and treated like the professional athletes they are."
As one of the founding owners of arguably one of the most successful minor league baseball franchises ever, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Englebrecht knows what it takes to make a professional team organization work and how owners can run a profitable pro sports team business.
"I know the fun and profitability that an investment in a professional sports team can provide," he stated. "I know about the dreams of most every sports fan to be just like Jerry Jones, Jerry Buss, Arte Moreno, or George Steinbrenner and own a pro sports team, as I realized that dream with the Quakes. Now the dream of owning a professional sports team can become a reality with the purchase of a PMMAL team.
"Having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of any business is worth its weight in gold, so buying in as a charter owner of a PMMAL team, involving the hottest pro sport today, is an unbelievable opportunity and one that should not be missed by anyone."
The PMMAL concept will see qualified owners awarded a team and have exclusive territorial rights in seven regions; San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Las Vegas.
The eight team league will be broken up into two conferences, the Ocean Conference consisting of San Diego County, Orange County South, Los Angeles County and Ventura County, and the Desert Conference comprised of Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Las Vegas and Orange County North. Each PMMAL team will be allowed to select 14 fighters in a League Draft scheduled for December of 2009.
Each PMMAL team will also play an eight event regular season schedule once a month beginning in February of 2010, with four home events and four away events, and all eight teams qualifying for the quarterfinals of the PMMAL Championships starting in October.
Four teams will advance to the semifinals in November and two teams will compete in the Inaugural PMMAL Championship in December. PMMAL fighters will earn a minimum of $10,000 per year, and can earn upward of $25,000 per year.
"I am extremely grateful to the UFC, to Strikeforce, and to M-1 Global for what they have done to grow mixed martial arts in America and the world over during the past ten years," said Englebrecht. "I just felt that if the sport of MMA was to really become mainstream and greatly enlarge its footprint to consumers, sponsors, and regulatory bodies that a minor league system needed to be established.
Over the past three years, young MMA fighters just didn't have the proper stage to perform on, and that club promoters had great difficulty in making it a viable business. Now with the PMMAL in place their will finally be a platform in place so that fighters who dream of one day competing in the UFC or Strikeforce can see their dreams come true, thanks to the Professional Mixed Martial Arts League."
Persons interested in acquiring a PMMAL team, or fighters interested in competing in the 2010 PMMAL season and entering the PMMAL draft, can get necessary information and documents at the Official Professional Mixed Martial Arts League website at www.pmmal.com, or by contacting Roy Englebrecht at firstname.lastname@example.org.