Nine PFL fighters have been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), forcing the promotion to make major changes to its ongoing season.
Seven PFL fighters, including former UFC title challenger Thiago Santos and former PFL heavyweight champion Bruno Cappelozza, appeared Thursday on the agenda for the next NSAC meeting. They will have their temporary suspensions extended Wednesday at the meeting in Las Vegas, likely making them ineligible for the duration of the PFL regular season, which starts up again in June.
Sources told ESPN that two other PFL fighters not listed on the agenda are also currently suspended and will have those suspensions extended Wednesday, as well.
The details on why the fighters have been suspended will not be officially revealed until the meeting. The suspensions are indefinite until disciplinary hearings or adjudication agreements with the commission.
In a statement released this week, PFL said it has a “zero-tolerance policy related to the usage of banned substances” and is in talks with USADA about starting an anti-doping program. USADA leads the UFC’s anti-doping policy and program.
“PFL has been notified by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that several fighters who competed in PFL 2023 Regular Season events this past April have been temporarily suspended until further review by the Commission,” the PFL statement read. “The PFL has a zero-tolerance policy related to the usage of banned substances and complies with U.S. State Athletic Commission requirements. Further, as the PFL moves towards the highest level of testing and compliance in the sport, PFL is engaged with USADA on the implementation of its athlete anti-doping program.”
PFL’s light heavyweight season was gutted by the suspensions. Four of the season’s 10 fighters have been suspended: Santos, Will Fleury, Krysztof Jotko and Mohammad Fakhreddine. Three of the season’s 10 heavyweights were also suspended: Cappeloza, Rizvan Kuniev and Cezar Ferreira. In addition to those seven, sources told ESPN that featherweight season fighters Alejandro Flores and Daniel Torres were also suspended.
PFL announced changes to its upcoming events Friday. On PFL’s next card June 8, Ty Flores will replace Fleury against Rob Wilkinson in a light heavyweight season fight and Tyler Diamond will replace Daniel Torres against Movlid Khaybulaev in a featherweight season bout. Light heavyweights Santos and Fakhreddine were supposed to fight each other and that fight has been removed. Ty Flores was supposed to fight Jotko, who has been pulled from the card. Gabriel Braga will replace Alejandro Flores against Marlon Moraes in a featherweight season bout. Taylor Johnson and PFL veteran Andrew Sanchez will enter the light heavyweight season to replace suspended fighters and face each other.
On June 16, defending PFL heavyweight champion Ante Delija, who was injured and thought to be out for the season, will return to the division and fight Maurice Greene in the main event. Patrick Brady and Jordan Heiderman, both replacements for suspended fighters, will enter the season and fight each other.
Defending PFL lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier will fight Anthony Romero in a lightweight season matchup to headline the June 23 card.
All three regular-season cards will be held in Atlanta.