Professional Fighters League (PFL) is back with season two, which means another $1 million payout for each fighter able to win the 2019 tournament in their respective weight class. Last year’s winners include Lance Palmer (featherweight) and Philipe Lins (heavyweight), among others (see the full list here).
Unfortunately, this year’s contest is not off to the best of starts. Josh Copeland was tossed for domestic violence, Lins was injured and forced to withdraw, Alexandre Almeida came in heavy, and now Ronys Torres has been ruled medically unfit to compete at tonight’s event in Long Island, New York.
In addition, Alexandre Bezerra passed out while cutting weight and went to the hospital before eventually tipping the scale at 155 pounds, according to MMA Fighting, nine pounds over the featherweight limit (factoring in the one-pound allowance for non-title fights).
Folks, if you pass out in the bathtub with seven pounds to go ... maybe it’s time to rethink how you got to that place. But current weight-cutting practices will not change because no one cares. PFL is not as popular as UFC and pulls no mainstream weight, so the corresponding headlines will draw the usual “tsk-tsk” and little else.
Heck, some of you might even be thinking, “They signed up for this, they knew the risks, send them to the hospital in the WAHmbulance.”
People die cutting weight, even teenagers, but change only happens when the deceased are important enough to spark outrage. No disrespect to the dead, but does anyone think a stateside athletic commission is going to overhaul the industry for the late Leandro Silva?
UFC fighters have seen their fair share of close calls and ludicrous botches. Uriah Hall was having seizures in the hallway, this former champion suffered kidney failure, and Yoel Romero had to be carried from the weigh ins.
PFL has an interesting premise and some extremely talented fighters. But the promotion doesn’t operate under the same microscope as UFC, which raises questions about accountability when it comes to these sorts of incidents.
To be fair, regulators are trying to make changes and even small steps forward can be considered progress. I just hope we can get some reciprocity between commissions before we bury another fighter who rolled the dice of life because their rent was past due.