Brendan Loughnane excited to chase his dream with the PFL
When a young Brendan Loughnane stepped in as a substitute to take part in “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes,” the UFC was pretty much the only show in town for fighters wanting to make it big in the U.S. But the landscape today is markedly different. Fighters have options, and Loughnane (17-3) is taking one of them in a bid to bring his career to new heights.
Following his now-infamous Dana White’s Contender Series snub, Loughnane fielded a host of offers and assessed his situation before finally deciding to sign with the PFL. And, chatting to MMA Junkie shortly after his signing had been officially confirmed, the Manchester man said he was both delighted and excited to kick off the latest new chapter in his fighting career.
“I had a bit of time off to let the dust settle with everything that went on (after the Contender Series),” he said. “PFL offered probably the highest level of competition and also really good money. I’m their only English fighter and they were like, ‘Look, we’ll really get behind you. We’ll push you in that market.’
“It was a thought-out decision. There were a lot of good choices on the table. I wanted all my fights to be in the States after that Las Vegas one – I really enjoyed that. Fighting in Vegas was always my dream and I was like, ‘(Expletive), I can get my dream. I can get paid top money, and I can fight for a promotion that’s Stateside, and they’re really gonna put marketing into me.’
“Also, PFL was on the table before that (Contender Series) fight with the UFC. At the time I told them, ‘This is my dream and I’m going to go for it.’ And they were just so nice about it and were like, ‘Yes, go for it!’ When it didn’t work out, they came back to me and gave me an even better offer. It was a total no-brainer for me.”
Loughnane was offered the chance to compete in the PFL’s upcoming $1 million featherweight season in 2020 but was concerned at the prospect of having to sit out until the competition kicks off in May next year. But the PFL heard those concerns and booked him to fight in non-tournament bouts in two of their big end-of-season shows.
“That was my main concern, really,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to sign a contract, then not fight until May next year. So they said they’d put me on these two shows. I will fight in October, and I will fight New Year’s Eve on the finale card. Then, I will fight in the season next year, which starts in May. They’ve pretty much bent over backwards to accommodate me, and I really appreciate the work Ray Sefo and the guys at PFL have done for me. I couldn’t be happier.”
It means Loughnane will make his promotional debut during the PFL playoffs in October, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Then he will appear again at the 2019 season finale, which is expected to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. For Loughnane, it’s a dream come true.
“Imagine I got a call saying do you want ‘X’ amount of money – which is double what I’ve ever been paid – and I got a call saying, ‘Do you want to fight in Las Vegas, and do you want to fight Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve?'” Loughnane said. “Come on! I was like, ‘Yeah! I do! I’ll take it right now!’”
The other big selling point that convinced Loughnane to put pen to paper with the PFL was their schedule. His recent career has seen him compete sporadically as he has struggled to find suitable matchups on the European circuit. But the structure of the PFL’s league format guarantees a busy schedule for Loughnane in 2020, and that’s exactly how he wants it.
“These guys will give me two (non-tournament) fights before the end of this year, and there’s only five months of the year left,” he said. “And then next year, I’ll have five fights, so you can’t really complain with the numbers that they’re giving.
“They’re paying me very well for each fight, so I know I’m gonna earn ‘X’ amount next year, whereas these other promotions might give you a good purse, but how often are they going to put you out there? So that was definitely another big selling point: inactivity, struggling to get fights, lack of opponents. At least I know now I’m in the PFL I’m going to be fighting extremely high-level competition on a regular basis.”
Now he’s signed his deal with the PFL, Loughnane says he harbors no ill-feeling toward the UFC but says that he’s happy to go and ply his trade somewhere he is genuinely valued.
“For some reason, they didn’t want me in there,” he said. “No hard feelings, I got the cheese elsewhere, and I’m going to go and fight my ass off for somebody else who wants me.
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