The Professional Fighters League and Sugar23 have partnered together on a new studio. The partnership will focus on two main areas — producing mixed martial arts (MMA) content that will not air live, as well as creating entertainment opportunities for the league’s star fighters.
The new content collaboration will include both long and short-form content, designed to be featured on various media platforms.
Sugar23 will also develop and foster opportunities for fighters to appear in entertainment projects and will lead efforts with PFL Studios to create and field opportunities to develop and monetize the profiles and personal brands of these athletes.
Mixed Martial Arts has a global audience of 550 million fans, which it says makes it the third largest sports audience, behind only soccer and basketball. Its fans are also younger and more digitally engaged than the audiences for other sports, making them a coveted demographic. The PFL is the first and only league to present MMA in the sports-season format where individual fighters compete in a regular season before advancing to playoff and championship rounds.
“This is great day for MMA fans as they can look forward to cool new content that they have never seen before,” said PFL Co-Founder and Chairman, Donn Davis. “Sugar23 is the innovator in Hollywood today and PFL is the innovator in MMA today – what we’ll do together will be a must watch mash-up.”
Sugar23 was founded in 2017 as a management production and creative platform. Sugar, an Oscar-winner for producing “Spotlight,” has been involved in the creation of such projects as “The Knick,” “The OA,” and “13 Reasons Why.”
Sugar23 is currently in pre-production on season three of Apple TV Plus’ “Dickinson,” starring Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski. The company also produced “Worth,” starring Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix. Most recently, Sugar23 produced the Netflix feature “The Laundromat” directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas. The company has a first-look film deal and an overall television deal with Netflix.
“We’ve never been inside the box thinkers – we like to say here that we’ve never even seen the box,” said Michael Sugar, the company’s founder. “The incredible PFL team are focused on breaking the mold for sports entertainment, and we can’t wait to get into the cage.”
Sugar will also join the PFL Advisory Board as part of the deal.