The Professional Fighters League is returning to Atlantic City‘s Ocean Casino Resort for the 2021 regular season.

Ocean will host a six-week season inside a “state-of-the-art bubble environment,” according to a league statement.

However, the made-for-TV and streaming experience will not have fans in attendance.

Week 1 of the 2021 season is set for April 23

Fighters will report to the bubble 17 days prior to scheduled matches. The league will enforce safety measures, including:

  • Daily COVID-19 testing
  • Mandatory masks
  • Keeping athletes separated prior to fights

Ocean has training facilities on site for the fighters. The casino hotel’s main event venue, Ovation Hall, can hold more than 5,000 people.

“(Ocean Casino Resort) has all of the necessary amenities to support our athletes in a bubble environment to ensure their safety as it relates to COVID-19,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray.

PFL, Ocean Casino Resort reuniting in 2021

Ocean and PFL have a history.

The late Bruce Deifik was responsible for reopening Ocean (formerly Revel).

Deifik was the owner of the World Series of Fighting, an upstart mixed martial arts league rebranded as PFL in 2018.

Less than 2 months after opening Ocean in June 2018, Deifik brought PFL 6 to Atlantic City. Two weeks later, the casino hosted PFL 7.

Shortly before his death in April 2019, Deifik was forced to give up control of Ocean due to financial issues.

Ocean hosted three PFL events in the summer of 2019. Unfortunately, the 2020 PFL season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More PFL details

The 2021 PFL season will air on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ in primetime. The remaining regular-season event dates are April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25.

“PFL is excited to be back on ESPN to showcase our MMA 2.0 product — featuring returning champions, new star signings, and next-generation SmartCage technology innovation,” Murray said.

Former world champion Anthony Pettis taking on knockout specialist Clay Collard headlines Week 1 action.

The main card will also feature two-time PFL champions Natan Schulte and Lance Palmer jumpstarting their campaigns in matchups against Marcin Held and Bubba Jenkins, respectively.

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Is PFL betting legal in New Jersey?

The short answer is yes.

The PFL is an approved league for NJ sports wagering purposes.

However, NJ online sportsbooks have yet to post lines for the upcoming PFL matchups.

As of now, DraftKings Sportsbook only has UFC Fight Night and Bellator odds posted under MMA. But both of those events are taking place before the PFL season even gets underway.

Will this change as we get closer to April 23? Stay tuned.

AP Photo/Wayne Parry

About

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.