The Professional Fighters League announced the signing of undisputed Women’s Super Middleweight Boxing Champion Savannah Marshall during the PFL Playoffs on August 18 in New York City.
Marshall is not only the latest female boxing champion to make the move to MMA, but also to sign with the PFL to pursue this part of her combat sports dream.
Amanda Serrano and Claressa Shields preceded Marshall on the same path, and the latter reunited with a new deal with the PFL.
What is the motivation to shift or double duty with boxing and MMA?
These two concepts lead to exposure, opportunity and naturally, more money. Shields confirmed this in an interview moments after Marshall’s deal was announced. Both came face to face in PFL Smartcage.
As Shields said, there is more money available to female combat sports athletes in MMA, and the PFL is providing them with an opportunity to capitalize on their talent and reputation.
Luke Thomas of CBS Sports talks about the crossover trend from women’s boxing to MMA. And the PFL is making it one of the main areas of promotion in the combat sports world.
Maintaining flexibility appears to be a major factor for many athletes who fall into the PFL group.
Just as Francis Nganoua and Jake Paul have been allowed to box alongside their MMA commitments for the PFL, Marshall, Serrano and Shields plan to continue their boxing careers after signing with the promotion.
Marshall reaffirmed his commitment to boxing in the video below after announcing his deal with the PFL.
How big are Shields, Serrano and Marshall signing with the PFL?
According to a source with knowledge of the commitments, the PFL is doubling the compensation that most female boxing champions were earning in the ring. In addition, according to the source, “Savannah signed a multi-fight deal in the six figures.”
As the trend continues, more elite female boxers are likely to show interest in potentially making the jump.
The woman who defeated Marshall to become the undisputed super middleweight champion, Franchon Cruz-Dezern is already training in South Florida to wrestle with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and Hall-of-Famer Rashad Evans and others from the MMA world.
She is interested in a rematch with Marshall in the PFL Smartcage, but David Feldman, founder and president of the Bayernukle Fighting Championship, has also expressed interest in signing Cruz-Dezern, and is in communication with his team.
I spoke to Crews-Dezern via text about his possible interest in PFL.
Cruz-Dezern said, “You know it ain’t a party without this heavy hitting diva and as a leader in growing women’s boxing, I look forward to continuing to work alongside amazing other female fighters.” [Evans] That’s just the guy! He is a legend in his sport, so it is an honor to learn from him. He has been supportive of me ever since I met him and I look forward to adding more instruments to my repertoire.”
Evans, who I also spoke with via text, is upbeat about Cruz-Dezern’s transformation and prospects in MMA.
Evans said, “I think it’s a great thing that Franchon is going to move to MMA.” To train Franchon for her MMA debut because I know she has the will and determination to make some serious noise in MMA. His physicality in the ring already tells me he has what it takes. But other than that, when Franchon puts her mind to it she can focus on anything and make it happen. Be it fashion or her music, she always manages to make her mark.”
Women’s boxing champions are looking for their worth and PFL is committed to providing them new opportunities.