U-Next, a Japanese streaming service, has entered into a multi-year deal with mixed martial arts' Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Through an agreement unveiled yesterday, U-Next has become the home of both the PFL and of Bellator, the former rival MMA series that the PFL acquired in late 2023.

All PFL Global Regular Season, PFL Europe, and PFL Middle East and Africa (MENA) events as well as archival content will be covered exclusively in Japan by U-Next, in addition to Bellator action.

This tie-up comes the week after U-Next and ONE Championship, the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, unveiled a tie-up. That deal involves the streaming service providing exclusive live and on-demand access to ONE’s events to its audience in Japan, with programming available with English and Japanese commentary.

The U-Next – PFL deal will begin with pay-per-view coverage of the PFL Champions vs Bellator Champions event scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia on February 24 (Saturday).

Tension Tsutsumi, U-Next’s chief executive, has said: “We are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with the Professional Fighters League, the world’s most premiere mixed martial arts organization. Beginning with PFL Champions vs. Bellator Champions, U-Next will continue to deliver the greatest MMA content to Japanese fans and look forward to solidifying our position as the premiere destination for mixed martial arts.”

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James Frewin, senior vice president of international for PFL, added: “A core component of our global expansion strategy is to partner with leading media platforms in key territories around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited about this multi-year agreement with U-Next to bring the best in MMA to fans in Japan.”

February has already seen the PFL unveil a multi-year expansion to its Latin American media rights tie-up with international sports broadcaster DirecTV, arranged by Argentine media and sports agency Torneos.

The tie-up entails DirecTV carrying on as the PFL’s exclusive partner across Latin America, including in markets such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay. It excludes, however, Brazil and Mexico.

In January, the league agreed to a tie-up in France with streaming service DAZN.

The US-based PFL is a relative newcomer in combat sports, having launched its first event in 2018. It is backed by SRJ Sports Investments, the sports-focused investment vehicle recently launched by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which secured a minority stake in the promotion for $100 million in August.