Why Isn’t PFL Europe Accessible Stateside?

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The regular season of the Professional Fighters League begins inside the United States in about a month. On the night of April 4, the 2024 PFL season kicks off in San Antonio with PFL 1. That night, heavyweights and women’s flyweights take to the PFL SmartCage to do battle for points in the standings in the first of two regular season bouts.

Inside the United States, PFL 1, along with the entirety of the 2024 PFL season, is available for broadcast and streaming on ESPN-owned properties, with ESPN+ offering wall-to-wall action on every fight night. While the PFL season in America is still one month out, the PFL Europe season is due to begin this week.

Thursday afternoon (US time,) the 2024 slate of PFL Europe begins in Paris with PFL Europe 1. Your main event of the evening is a welterweight showcase fight matching two undefeated combatants in Cedric Doumbe (5-0 MMA, 1-0 PFL) and Baysangur Chamsoudinov  (7-0, PFL promotional debut).   Live coverage begins at 12 noon ET/ 9 am PT on DAZN.

PFL Europe Unavailable in United States Again

That designation of DAZN is for a number of countries throughout the world. Notably missing from that list of countries is the United States of America. If you access the “How to Watch” tab for PFL Europe and select the United States of America, you’ll see that the promotion’s events are blacked out in the lower 48.

This dates back to last year. If you live in the United States and want to watch the promotion’s event in Paris at your lunch hour on Thursday afternoon, you’re out of luck. There’s no (legal) way for you to do so.

It’s 2024. Here we are in an age where practically everything that’s ever aired and/or everything that ever will air on television somewhere in this world is accessible at the click of a mouse or the swipe of an app.

This Shouldn’t Be Happening

Why, then, can’t DAZN make the PFL Europe events accessible to the American MMA fans? It doesn’t make any sense. You can easily watch every single UFC fight ever held if you have a subscription to UFC Fight Pass or ESPN+. It shouldn’t be this hard to make the PFL’s European cards on some video platform inside the 50 states.

Thankfully, this is a dilemma that can easily be rectified. The streaming services on where PFL Europe’s events could be found in America are easy to access.

Go to YouTube

Much like any other established sports organization that exists throughout the world, the PFL has its own YouTube channel. YouTube would be an easy avenue for the PFL to put its European events online for American fans. Unlike a number of services where videos are screened or shared with the masses, YouTube has always been free.

MMA and YouTube go together like pizza and soda pop. If there aren’t any live cards from a promotion streaming on YouTube, the promotions’ official channels will often upload archived fights featuring noteworthy fighters, particularly and especially if said fighter is due to compete in the near future.

Last season, on the day of the 2023 PFL Europe 1 card, YouTubers who were subscribed to the PFL’s official channel on the Google-owned video sharing service received a notification that the channel was live with the event streaming on the page. This wasn’t the case if you were in the USA. Instead, subscribers received the dreaded “The uploader has not made this video available in your country” caption.

YouTube is one of the most recognized brands in the world today. Anytime something major happens, regardless of whether it’s in combat sports or not, videos about it go up on YouTube almost immediately after the event takes place.

Try Pluto TV

Ever since August of 2013, CBS‘s parent company, Paramount Global, has had a free streaming service of its own, Pluto TV. In August of 2020, Pluto TV got into the MMA world by adding a FAST (Free Ad-Supported Television) channel of archived fights from Bellator MMA. 

For those wondering, FAST channels work like a standard subscription to a cable service, without, of course, the monthly fees to the provider.

Pluto TV streamed Bellator’s first-ever event on the Showtime premium cable network, Bellator 255, on April 2, 2021 for free in a live simulcast between Showtime, Pluto, and YouTube. Pluto has its own PFL channel, too, primarily airing archived fights from past seasons.

With Pluto available for free, it’s a great avenue to put PFL Europe cards on for United States viewers. It’s accessible in a mobile app supported on nearly any cellphone or tablet. Said mobile app is also downloadable for desktops and laptops.

If PFL Europe cannot be streamed on YouTube for whatever reason, make it available live and free on Pluto TV.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve chronicled throughout this opinion piece, having PFL Europe events available on an official streaming platform should be done in 2024. It’s something that should have been done last year.

In an era where pretty much anything and everything under the sun can be accessible in a jiffy online, PFL Europe shows should be among those items that should be available on the Internet without hassle. Here’s hoping this changes as the 2024 PFL Europe season progresses.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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