Daniel Cormier Dismisses PFL’s Claim of Becoming Co-Leader with UFC

Daniel Cormier, a UFC Hall of Famer, stated that he isn’t worried about the PFL’s acquisition of Bellator and its ambition to become a co-leader with the UFC, arguing that the UFC’s product, fighters, and operations are far ahead of any other promotion.

Daniel Cormier, the MMA heavyweight champ, isn’t losing any sleep over PFL’s recent acquisition of Bellator. Not one bit.

Just last week, the PFL made it official. They’ve gone ahead and bought Bellator. This move ended months of whispers and rumors about a possible merger between the two biggest MMA promotions in the world, outside of the UFC.

In the aftermath of this big move, PFL’s founder, Donn Davis, made a bold claim. He said this acquisition would position PFL to become a “co-leader” with the UFC in the coming years. Cormier, however, isn’t buying it. Not for a second.

“I don’t know how you’re going to be the co-leader,” Cormier said, sharing his thoughts on the merger on The MMA Hour. “You’re not going to be the co-leader. I’m sorry. The UFC is the standard. They’ve got too big a head start. The level of fighters is just too high and it’s well-oiled machine.”

“People will say, ‘Oh, this guy is a company man!’ Yes. They write me checks, a lot. [Laughs] But here’s the deal, the UFC has developed a product that is so far ahead of everything else, it’s crazy. From the production side, to the personnel and staff side, to the fighters, there’s nothing that compares. It’s not close, and it’s not going to be close.”

Cormier has deep roots with the UFC. He’s a Hall of Famer and currently works as a color commentator for the promotion on most of its big events. But before he joined the UFC in 2013, he fought for Strikeforce. Strikeforce was similarly positioned as the second-biggest non-UFC promotion in the world. Cormier remembers just how wide the gulf between No. 1 and No. 2 truly was.

“It’s just not the truth,” Cormier said about Davis’ statements. “When I was in Strikeforce in the beginning, I remember we would be on CBS, and I would just rush to find the ratings to see how it did. I had to know how it did, because you wanted to feel like it was catching up, or you were on that level, because you knew, back then, UFC numbers were crazy. Pay-Per-View numbers they were doing back then were crazy. You were like, ‘Man, if Strikeforce can do 5 million views on cable, that’s a big number.

“And it was not ever really that. But you always looked for some sort of metric that put you on the same level as the UFC, and there’s really just not any. From crowd attendance to gates to PPVs, there’s just not a metric that’s going to show that you’re on that level.”

That’s not to say that Cormier doesn’t believe in the fighters currently competing in PFL and Bellator. He acknowledged that the current crop of Bellator champions is possibly the best in the history of the promotion, but it’s simply not the same.

“I think they’re good,” he said. “I think these guys can fight. I think these guys can really fight. I think anybody fighting at the highest level can fight. But come on, man.”


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