‘Sad’ Anderson Silva confirms retirement at UFC on ESPN+ 39: ‘For sure, this is the last fight’

Anderson Silva has confirmed that without a doubt, his UFC on ESPN+ 39 main event with Uriah Hall on Halloween will mark his final octagon appearance.

Silva (34-10 MMA, 17-6 UFC), the former longtime UFC middleweight champion, will have a farewell fight with Hall (15-9 MMA, 8-7 UFC) in the Oct. 31 headliner, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+.

After not fighting since a May 2019 loss to Jared Cannonier, UFC president Dana White said earlier this year that he was trying to find the best way to usher the 45-year-old Silva gracefully into retirement. White originally said he’d allow “The Spider” to fight the final two bouts on his contract, but then the situation changed into just one final contest.

Silva originally seemed somewhat resistant to the idea of exiting the sport, but he said he’s now fully accepted the situation.

“This is the last fight,” Silva told MMA Junkie on Tuesday. “For sure, this is the last fight. Probably. I love the sport. I’ve prepared my mind for this. I’ve prepared for fight my entire life, but yes, this is my last fight in UFC.”

Silva made his MMA debut in 1997 fighting on a small card in his native Brazil. He’s competed for eight different organizations over more than two decades, but the UFC has been his home for longest. His octagon debut came in in June 2006, when he delivered a memorable 49-second blowout of Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 5.

Fighting has been a cornerstone of Silva’s identity for more than half of his life, and he admits that coming to terms with having just one walk to the octagon left hasn’t be easy.

“I think (I’ll miss) the training (the most),” Silva said. “Preparing my mind, preparing my body. This I think is most important and I feel sad because I don’t have this anymore. This is the last one.”

Although the tail end of Silva’s career has been rough – with just one victory in his past eight bouts, including a no-contest – there’ is no taking away the special legacy he created, even with a pair of failed drug tests taken into consideration. Silva is guaranteed to find himself in the UFC Hall of Fame one day, and his accomplishments will sit high in the records books for years to come.

Despite remarkable feats such as setting the promotion’s consecutive wins record (16), and having the second most title defenses (10) in company history behind Demetrious Johnson (11), Silva said his most memorable career moment didn’t happen under the UFC banner.

For Silva, his unanimous decision win over Hayato Sakurai at “Shooto: To The Top 7” in August 2001 holds the most special place in his heart.

“My first title belt in Japan when I fight in Shooto, when I fight Hayato Sakurai,” Silva said. “This is my best memory ever. It’s my first title belt.”

Nearly 20 years after that encounter with Sakurai, Silva is on the cusp of his last dance in the UFC. He said Hall is a “very interesting” opponent for him, especially after a matchup between the two fell apart at UFC 198 in May 2016.

The ideal scenario for Silva would be to deliver one final spectacular performance that lives up to the image he’s built for himself in the UFC. He said he’s trying to keep focused on the fight, and not all the outside elements in terms of everything he experiences leading up to and on fight night being the last.

Silva said he’s a fan of the matchup with Hall, however, and thinks it’s caters well to him riding out into the sunset on a high.

“I can’t say, ‘Oh, this fight goes to the ground, this fight is done in the standup,'” Silva said. “It’s two good strikers. Uriah’s a very, very athletic guy and has a good technique in the striking and I try to do my best. I try do to the best show for my fans.”

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UFC 254 video: Pros predict Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

MMA Fighting spoke to MMA stars from the UFC and Bellator to get their predictions for who’s going to win Saturday’s pivotal UFC 254 headliner between undisputed lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Justin Gaethje.

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‘Cowboy’ Oliveira Discusses Desire to Call Out Anthony Pettis, Nearly Retiring in 2019

Fighting for the second time in Abu Dhabi in 2020, Alex Oliveira will face the undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254 on Saturday. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Casey Kenney’s Fight Island Wishes Came True

Casey Kenney was hoping to return to Fight Island for a second fight after his first bout on Oct. 4. He got his wish

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Alexander Volkov: Curtis Bladyes loss was ‘little step back,’ but UFC 254 will mark start of title run

ABU DHABI – UFC heavyweight Alexander Volkov took a step in the wrong direction against Curtis Blaydes, but it hasn’t derailed his championship aspirations.

Ahead of his UFC 254 bout against Walt Harris on Saturday, Volkov (31-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) reflected on the unanimous decision defeat he suffered in June.

“I understand that I made a little step back,” Volkov told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at a pre-fight news conference Tuesday. “Every loss makes you step back. We have a lot of examples of fighters who lose their fights and then come back and become a champion. For me, that’s just experience. Since I didn’t lose like a fool, I made a lot of damage in that fight. After the fight, I was fresh. The next day after the fight, I ran about six miles really easily. I had no damage, no injuries, nothing. For sure, I’m going for the belt, but for now, to be honest for myself, I need to take some wins to prove to everybody that I’m ready for this.”

Harris (23-8 MMA, 6-7 UFC) is coming off of a loss of his own. Despite being ahead of Harris in the official UFC rankings, Volkov said he accepted the fight because of his opponent’s “big name,” given the options available.

“He’s one of those guys who are free right now,” Volkov said. “Also, he’s a big name – a big guy. He has really good striking skills. I think it will be a really nice fight with him. It’s a good fight.”

UFC 254 takes place Saturday at Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main card streams on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPN 2/ESPN+.

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Henry Corrales vs. Brandon Girtz set for Bellator 250 co-main event

Henry Corrales | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Henry Corrales welcomes Brandon Girtz to the featherweight division next week.

MMA Fighting confirmed with an official that Corrales (17-5) and Girtz (16-9) will meet in the co-main event of Bellator 250 on Oct. 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The matchup was first reported by The Scrap.

In his past two outings, Corrales has dropped decisions to Juan Archuleta and Darrion Caldwell. The loss to Caldwell snapped a five-fight winning streak for Corrales that saw him knock off the likes of Aaron Pico, Georgi Karakhanyan, and Noad Lahat.

This will be Girtz’s first fight at featherweight inside the Bellator cage. Girtz has alternated wins and losses in his past five fights, losing to Myles Jury, Michael Chandler, and Derek Campos, while defeating Saad Awad and Luka Jelcic.

Bellator 250 is scheduled to be headlined by a battle for a vacant middleweight title between current welterweight champion Douglas Lima and former middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi. The main card airs live on CBS Sports Network.

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Dana White: UFC 254 Trending to Be Promotion’s Top-Selling Pay-Per-View Ever

There’s still a few days left before Saturday, but UFC 254 is already generating a lot of interest. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Statement on Chase Sherman

Sherman Accepts Sanction for Violation of UFC Anti-Doping Policy

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Jared Cannonier on what’s at stake at UFC 254: ‘Title fight is definitely coming for me next’

ABU DHABI – Jared Cannonier can see UFC gold on the horizon.

The UFC middleweight contender thinks he’s on the verge of challenging middleweight champion Israel Adesanya if victorious Saturday. Cannonier (13-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) takes on former champion Robert Whittaker in the co-main event of UFC 254.

“This is the biggest fight of my career. A title fight is definitely coming for me next,” Cannonier told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Tuesday at UFC 254 media day.

UFC president Dana White has said Cannonier is next for Adesanya if he’s able to get past Whittaker, making UFC 254 a significant moment for “The Killa Gorilla.” The champion himself, Adesanya, has targeted Cannonier as the next guy in line and has shown plenty of interest in facing him in the near future.

This makes Cannonier a happy man.

“Real recognize real,” Cannonier said. “He said in his interview he respects my energy, and that means something different to me than what it means to other people. When you start talking energy, I think we’re seeing each other right there [points to third eye] and that’s huge.

“I think a lot of people look at the physicality of the sport and don’t tap into the mentality of the sport, as well. There’s a spiritual aspect to this sport. Martial arts is a spiritual thing before it was a physical thing.”

Although the future seems promising for Cannonier, he is entering the biggest fight of his UFC career off an injury and lengthy layoff. Cannonier’s last fight was in September 2019 as a torn pec kept him out of commission. Some might see it as a negative, but the 36-year-old sees it as a sign for better things.

“Even though I had the injury, some may see it as a bad thing, but in my experiences in my whole life, especially since leaving home, I’ve realized whenever something me or anyone perceives as negative, it’s always followed by something positive – like a pendulum swing,” Cannonier explained. “So with this injury, COVID-19 popping off and everything shutting down, the injury happened at a really good time because I was able to go to my physical therapist. Al Escobar is the man … not only was he rehabilitating the pec, but he was taking me through a strength and conditioning program that has definitely benefited me in a very major way. You guys will see.”

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Francis Ngannou laments inactivity with Stipe Miocic out: ‘I fought once for 20 seconds in the last 16 months’

Francis Ngannou | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Francis Ngannou is facing an uncertain future.

Currently No. 1 in the UFC’s official rankings, Ngannou has seemingly done everything he possibly can to secure another shot at heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Unfortunately for Ngannou, there has been no official word on if or when that matchup will actually be booked and he expressed his frustration over the situation on social media Tuesday.

“Two title fights in the UFC heavyweight division for the past two years and we don’t know if there will be another one anytime soon,” Ngannou wrote. “Contenders have to fight for something.”

Miocic was embroiled in a feud with Daniel Cormier for the past couple of years that resulted in them being featured in three of the past four UFC heavyweight title bouts (the other saw Cormier successfully defend the belt against Derrick Lewis). That trilogy left the rest of the division to jockey for position and it’s Ngannou who currently leads the pack with four consecutive knockout victories, all ending in less than 90 seconds.

The Miocic-Cormier trilogy series concluded in August with Miocic coming out on top and Cormier subsequently retiring, but it’s unclear when Miocic will compete again. According to Ngannou, he expects Miocic to be out until March 2021.

“Apparently Stipe is out until March,” Ngannou wrote. “If I have to wait until then it’ll be almost another year between fights.”

Ngannou’s most recent fight was at UFC 249 in May. He needed just 20 seconds to dispatch Jairzinho Rozenstruik, an impressive feat that also puts into perspective how infrequent Ngannou’s appearances have been.

“I fought once for 20 seconds in the last 16 months,” Ngannou wrote.

Ngannou and Miocic previously fought at UFC 220 in January 2018. Miocic defeated Ngannou by unanimous decision to retain the UFC heavyweight title.

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UFC Heavyweight Chase Sherman Suspended 9 Months for Anti-Doping Violation

UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman has been suspended for nine months for an anti-doping violation related to an in-competition sample collected on May 13, USADA announced Tuesday. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Unfiltered: Aljamain Sterling, Joaquin Buckley and Coach Javier Mendes

On today’s episode of UFC Unfiltered: Aljamain Sterling, Joaquin Buckley and Coach Javier Mendes

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UFC 254 ‘Embedded,’ No. 2: Jared Cannonier waxes philosophical on expectations for greatness

The UFC returns to pay-per-view Saturday night, as UFC 254 closes out the company’s second “Fight Island” residency in the Middle East.

UFC 254 takes place at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

One of the most highly anticipated fights of 2020 headlines the card, as lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) takes on interim titleholder Justin Gaethje (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a unification bout. Additionally, former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who recently signed a UFC contract, will be on hand as a standby main-event fighter in case either competitor needs to withdraw from the bout.

The second episode of “Embedded” follows the big-name stars at the top of the card. Here’s the UFC’s description:

Justin Gaethje reflects on how far he’s come from a small town. Jared Cannonier visualizes a win and inspires Walt Harris. Gaethje and Robert Whittaker talk to media about their upcoming bouts.

Also watch:

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UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman suspended 9 months by USADA following failed drug test

UFC 211 Weigh-in Gallery

Chase Sherman | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman has been suspended for nine months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency following a failed drug test.

USADA officials announced the news on Tuesday while confirming Sherman tested positive for anastrozole — an anti-estrogen drug that is banned at all times for athletes competing in the UFC.

Drugs like anastrozole can be used to counteract estrogen produced in the body as a result of treatments such as testosterone replacement therapy.

Sherman tested positive as a result of a fight night test administered on May 13 when he returned to the UFC for a short-notice opportunity where he faced and defeated Ike Villanueva via second-round TKO.

“Upon being added to the UFC Anti-Doping Program, an athlete who voluntarily and promptly discloses the use of a prohibited substance prior to testing will not be deemed to have committed a violation if they test positive from the prior use,” USADA officials wrote in the statement. “While Sherman provided sufficient evidence that his use of anastrozole occurred prior to entering the program, he did not declare anastrozole on his onboarding declaration form and therefore he faces a violation for the presence of the substance in his sample.

“Sherman received an additional reduction to the period of ineligibility for his full and complete cooperation.”

The nine month suspension is retroactive to the date when the test was administered on May 13, which means he will be eligible to compete again after Feb. 13, 2021.

Because Sherman’s fight took place in Florida, the commission there also has jurisdiction to issue an additional sanction for the failed drug test. The Florida State Boxing Commission has not yet responded to MMA Fighting’s inquiry about any punishment handed down to Sherman.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov: Poirier vs. McGregor Must Be at 155 for Winner to Get Title Shot

The UFC is targeting a showdown between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor for Jan. 23, though there is much to be decided before the bout is finalized. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Magomed Ankalaev Wants To Settle The Score

Magomed Ankalaev feels a duty to finish his fued with Ion Cutelaba at UFC 254 on Saturday

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UFC Heavy Bag

End Date: Saturday Nov-14-2020 18:44:03 EDT
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Nathaniel Wood not on ‘Fight Island’ for the jet skis, ready to bring A-game to UFC 254

ABU DHABI – Former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood says he’s seen other fighters enjoying the trappings of life on “Fight Island,” but he’s all business ahead of his upcoming fight.

England’s Wood (17-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) takes on Casey Kenney (15-2-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in a 140-pound catchweight bout on the preliminary card of UFC 254, and “The Prospect” told reporters, including MMA Junkie, that he isn’t interested in hopping on a jet ski – he’s here to claim the fifth win of his UFC career.

The 27-year-old Londoner said he expects Kenney to try his hand at striking with him but predicted that after the first two minutes the American will be shooting for a takedown. He also said that an impressive victory over Kenney should be enough to move him into the top 15 at 135 pounds.

Watch the complete interview in the video above.

UFC 254 takes place Saturday at Flash Forum at Yas Island. The main card streams on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN+ and ESPN2.

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After person writes ‘go home and die,’ Bellator’s DeAnna Bennett tells social media platforms to step up

TUF Finale Weigh-in

DeAnna Bennett | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Bellator fighter DeAnna Bennett made peace with online trolls a long time ago.

After being eliminated from The Ultimate Fighter 26, she went so far as to like and agree with snide online comments about her appearance that popped up during and after the reality show.

On several occasions, her critics responded by deleting the offending post or apologizing. The rest, she tried to ignore.

But she decided she couldn’t stay silent after an experience with a particularly aggressive Instagram troll, who amid one barrage said she should die. Coupled with Facebook’s decision to punish an account that calls attention to the daily abuse female athletes face, she said things have to change.

“There’s definitely a problem with the way things are reported,” she told MMA Fighting. “Obviously, their AI and their bots are not effective and not working well. Instagram needs to take more responsibility for that.”

Bennett’s most recent experience with online harassment came after a losing effort against two-time UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche at Bellator 246. She missed weight prior to the bout, she said, because of hormone issues she is now trying to fix. She expected to be trolled about her loss and her weight, as are countless male and female fighters before and after fights.

It was one particular poster, seen in screenshots she forwarded to MMA Fighting as sprawl_law711, that crossed the line, she said. After the weigh-ins, the person continued to send her DMs and comment on threads with her name.

Replying to a post where she honored her father, a former police officer, the poster sent another message: “You don’t deserve to be there. You need to pull out of the fight, give Liz your purse go the f*ck home and die. No one wants to see you. You can’t even be professional enough to show up on weight. Go the f*ck home.”

When she shared one nasty message with her followers, the poster sent her a DM message: “The truth hurts, doesn’t it? You’re just an unprofessional c*nt, who should’ve stayed the f*ck home rather than wasting Bellator’s time and money.”

Then, the poster escalated the attack, changing the account’s profile name to “you missed weight fatty” with an unflattering picture.

“I don’t report that stuff, usually,” Bennett said. “I just ignore it, because I’m like, whatever, people are sh*tty sometimes. But I’m getting all these DMs, all this stuff, they’re relentless. They changed their profile to be about me and how terrible I am.”

According to a 2017 study from Pew Research Center, 41 percent of Americans have been harassed online, and 66 percent have witnessed harassment. Roughly one in five have been physically threatened, stalked, or sexually harassed. Eight in 10 believe social media platforms should intervene when people are harassed.

Fighters are regularly on the receiving end of vile and disturbing comments about their appearances in response to posts and via direct messaging. Bennett doesn’t respond to the majority of attacks. Other fighters directly call out posters and laugh at inappropriate messages.

“I had this one guy from like Pakistan, or somewhere in that region, send me messages about how he wanted to be a pro fighter, and his girlfriend had just died, and because his girlfriend had just died, he wanted to give me his organs if I needed them … so he could literally be inside me,” said UFC bantamweight Jessica-Rose Clark during a recent appearance on What The Heck.

Bennett reported the poster using Instagram’s online harassment and bullying form. She received an email telling her the posts did not violate the community guidelines. So she reported them again, and she got the same result. Finally, she gave up and concluded Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, wasn’t serious about stopping online harassment.

This past week, she lost her cool when the owner of the website You Look Like A Man, which calls attention to negative comments female athletes receive, said several of her social media accounts were shut down in response to the reporting of online abuse.

Bennett loves the page because it holds up a mirror to the behavior female athletes encounter when they log on. It’s a way to commiserate and support her community, she said. Punishing the reporters of abuse, she said, sends a message to online bullies that they don’t need to worry about what they post.

“Some female is trying to stand up for themselves and put it on Instagram and show the world about what these guys are doing, [and] that gets shut down, but not the original comment, not the people going out of their way to harass,” she said. “I’m not saying I want them to go through and censor, but when something gets reported, they need to figure out a way to make it that if somebody is actually getting harassed, that gets dealt with, not just swept under the rug.”

You Look Like A Man founder Jessica Fithen said Facebook took action against her after she shared a public post where a man made a crass remark about a CrossFit athlete’s genitalia. She said the platform banned her IP address from Facebook, deactivated YLLAM’s Facebook page, cut off her e-commerce account and deactivated several of her personal accounts. Her YLLAM Instagram account was not affected. The man’s posts also remained active, she said.

Before she shared the offending post, she said, a fan of the website had contacted the man’s employer, which was publicly available via his profile, and was told the employer would take action. She subsequently received messages from the man’s friends saying she’d be responsible if he ended his life or lost his job.

Fithen, the 2019 Strongest Woman in the World, said a friend who worked at Facebook told her the company took action when it classified her post as revenge porn. She said she’d previously been warned for inciting bullying after sharing another post about online bullying on TikTok. An online petition to reinstate her YLLAM accounts had 5,000 signatures at the time of this writing.

“I think a lot of people have been sincerely touched by this story because when they have tried to report inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment, especially sexual harassment, they are told to be quiet and not ruin people’s careers,” she told MMA Fighting.

Fithen said she started the YLLAM website and social accounts nine months ago to publicly shame online abusers in the absence of legal consequences against them. She said the poster who wished death on Bennett was unlikely to run afoul of cyberbullying laws; although many states bar the use of the internet to harass others, police are unlikely to intervene unless there’s an active plan to carry out the threat included in a message.

Fithen joined Bennett in criticizing the platform’s methods of detecting harassment and taking action when it’s reported.

“Women on these platforms don’t have any protective measures,” she said. “These platforms absolutely don’t. They don’t care about protecting them, they don’t care about hearing their concerns, and they definitely don’t care about anything that might affect their bottom line.”

In a prepared statement, Instagram said the platform had removed the account identified by Bennett for displaying “a pattern of harassing behavior.”

“We don’t want people to feel unsafe on Instagram, and we’ve built numerous tools to help those who may feel targeted – including giving people the ability to block or restrict people, the ability to filter offensive comments, and ways to manage who can tag, mention or direct message you,” wrote Instagram communications rep Liza Crenshaw.

Instagram touts AI as an important tool in both rooting out and hiding offensive content. The company also backs features that allow users control who can tag and mention them on the platform, and it promises public users will soon be able to control who sends them DMs. The most direct way to stop harassment, the company says, is unfollowing, muting or blocking a user.

But for Bennett, by the time that decision is made, much of the damage has already been done. If AI isn’t escalating reports of harassment to people who can do something about it, the technology isn’t working as intended.

Fithen believes that’s part of the issue. Speaking with people who work for Instagram, she said the company relies too much on AI for policing guidelines, and there are very few actual people to enforce policies. In her time reporting violations, she’s dealt with users who’ve created over 30 different accounts to continue harassing someone.

Bennett thinks female fighters should band together more than they currently do to send the messages to large social media companies that online bullying will not be tolerated.

“When I put the comments that that guy had said up on my story, you know what he did? He went immediately into my DMs calling me a c*nt, calling me terrible things,” Bennett said. “That’s why I ended up blocking and reporting him, because of his reaction to me trying to call him out on that stuff. How is that an acceptable thing to do? So we’re just supposed to ignore it, we’re supposed to just deal with it? Why do female athletes have to put up with that kind of stuff?

“Me personally, I’ve struggled in the past with mental health issues. Young females coming into the sport, having these type of people that are out there and saying these type of things, it’s detrimental to them. The females out there, we need to be together on this and let them know it’s not just happening to you, it’s happening to all these female athletes out there, and it’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable for people to be doing that.”

Given her experience on the internet, Bennett is all too aware that by calling attention to the issue, she will invite the very type of scrutiny she’s speaking out against. But if she can support the cause of people like Fithen, she said, “that’s more important than people saying negative things in my inbox.”

“There’s too many females that are going through the same thing as me,” she added. “It’s not like I was going in and checking the comments with my post. They were sending me messages, too. Direct messages, and over and over and over again. It hits a breaking point. It shouldn’t be that way. You shouldn’t get harassed like this.”

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PFL Announces Schedule for 2021 Season Beginning with April 29 Event

After taking 2020 off due to COVID-19 concerns, Professional Fighters League is set to return with a full campaign next year. View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

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