Retired mixed martial artist Brian Stann, one of the sport’s most highly regarded figures in recent years, has accepted an advisory role with the Professional Fighters League.
Stann, 37, will head the PFL’s Fighter and Competition/Rules Committee, an advisory board to the league’s top executives and investors.
“I’ll have influence going forward on how [the PFL] can try to pick up these tournaments, how they treat their athletes, how they recruit their athletes,” Stann told ESPN. “It’s high-level strategic [advising]. It’s, ‘Hey, this is what we’re thinking. What are your initial thoughts on this?’
“We’re used to other organizations where you’ve got this small group of people who make all the decisions and they need to learn from their mistakes. I think with the PFL trying to be something a little different, I think it’s a really smart approach to say, ‘Let’s go and find some really experienced people that we know really care about this sport.'”
The PFL, formerly World Series of Fighting, will launch its inaugural “season” June 7 in New York City. The promotion has a television deal with NBC Sports.
The league consists of a “regular season” and “playoff” format, in which 72 athletes across six weight categories compete for a $1 million prize. The league’s new investors include several prominent Washington, D.C., businessmen with ties to other professional sports.
According to Stann, who fought in the UFC from 2009 to 2013 and worked as a UFC commentator until 2017, a positive relationship with its fighters will be vital to the PFL.
“One of the things that helps you attract viewers is having a real partnership with your athletes,” Stann said. “I thought that the WEC [which the UFC bought in 2006] did a really good job of that when they were young. The WEC did a really good job of communicating with us and giving us a role and involvement in the promotion.”
Stann (12-6) left his UFC commentary role to pursue an MBA and a position in real estate, as well as spend more time with his wife and three daughters. He does not anticipate this new role with PFL to interfere with any of that.