There is a new MMA promotion set to make its debut this Sat. (Feb. 18, 2023) and it has some interesting details.
On Feb. 18, 2023, United Fight League (UFL) will kick off its first-ever card with a Grand Prix Quarterfinal fight card. The Grand Prix will feature 48 individual top fighters across six weight classes from six countries and the event will take place at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Arizona.
The first half of the tournament will take place Saturday, with the winners advancing to the semifinals on a later day. The second half of the tournament will take place in Memphis in a few months.
Grand Prix tournaments are always fun. However, the most significant talking point about this new promotion is health care, especially health and life insurance — something every fighter on their roster is entitled to.
“The UFL fighters have a full PPO plan with United Healthcare. It provides the co-pays, the prescription refills, max deductibles,” Harrison Rogers, UFL President, recently told MMAmania.com. “I have the ability to do this because I actually own a lot of other businesses where I have to provide health insurance to my employees. And so I’m able to then access that same ability for our fighters. Health care wasn’t a decision we made after we created the league. It was the reason we made the league because I could do so.”
There is a reason why many MMA promotions don’t offer health care, and that is sustainability and that, of course, was asked to Rogers.
How can the UFL continue to be viable? Well, the answer was clear: other avenues.
“We already know people will say, ‘okay, they’re gonna do what the IFL or the XFC or the Triad/Triller did. Where it’s basically, paying a crap ton of money for some big names and hoping that the audience cares enough to keep watching. But that hasn’t worked, and we know that,” Rogers said. “So being able to be a little bit of business savvy and figure out some different ancillary businesses that we can have around our league to continually be able to make money in the meantime of these events.
“The audience not caring enough to buy pay-per-views or tickets is a big money waste. So instead, we can have products and services that are a good sell revenue and are producing assets for the company in the meantime.”
Rogers would list F3 Energy Drink as a way to make some revenue back, as he knows UFL will not make money immediately to sustain what they are planning to do. He also listed protein bars, appeal, content — social media/YouTube as other monetization revenues to start.
“I believe if we do this the right way, we will have success. We are going to change the industry by being unique, and innovative.
In addition to medical and life insurance, fighters are offered a stake in the company through various stock options as part of their compensation package.
- The weight classes that will be competed in are women’s 115 and 135 and men’s 135, 145, 170, and 185 pounds.
- The four locations in 2023 are Mesa, Memphis, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, and they said they will have a U.K. show in 2024.
- MMA legends Frank Mir, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Tito Ortiz, will serve as the promotion’s brand ambassadors.
- Freedom Fight Nights will be the “feeder” league to UFL and will be the show the fighters will compete on if they lose their Grand Prix fight.
Saturday’s UFL 1 card
The first UFL card will be headlined by former UFC fighter, Jared Gooden, and former Bellator fighter, Demarques Jackson. The co-main event will feature LFA and Combate alumni Chris Mecate vs. Jose Delgado.
The rest of the card is the following:
135-Pound Grand Prix
Phil Caracappa (9-2) vs. Valodia Aivazian (10-3)
170-Pounds Grand Prix
Ivey Nixon (6-3) vs. Luis Iniguez (5-2)
185-Pounds Grand Prix
Dan Huber (4-5) vs. Jered Gwerder (5-4)
135-Pound Grand Prix
Jackson Filho (6-3) vs. Amun Cosme (4-1)
135-Pound Grand Prix
Zurina Turrey (1-0) vs. Veronika Smolkova (1-0)
Ribeiro Livio (1-0) vs. Braden Goodwin (0-0)
Quinten Culpepper (5-1) vs. John Simon (5-3)
Perry Stargel (6-4) vs Kyron Bowen (9-8)
Melissa Parker (3-3) vs Hannah Guy (4-2)
UFL’s Grand Prix Quarterfinals 1 will stream free and live on Rumble beginning at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT.