Brendan Loughnane: “I can’t afford 18 months out of competition right now.”

Bellator held their first card back in four months last Saturday; the first show we’ve seen the promotion put on since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. They joined the UFC, who have been hosting shows throughout this the global shutdown. As it stands, fellow American fight promotion Professional Fighters League have no fights on the horizon. They plan to go ahead with their annual season in 2021.

This lack of events leaves a host of fighters on the PFL roster in limbo. Current featherweight Lance Palmer voiced his frustration to ESPN last week. The two time million-dollar tournament champion has officially requested a release from his PFL contract.

This article prompted First Round Management CEO Malki Kawa to announce on social media that he too had requested the release of his clients Brendan Loughnane and Justin Willis, and that he had also declined the $1,000 monthly stipend on their behalf.

Andy Stevenson sat down to speak with Loughnane this week about the whole situation with PFL.

“This is not news to me”, said Loughnane. “Everybody has got going again, after Covid-19. I’ve got told that I’m not going to fight again until next June. I’m at the stage of my career now where I’m 30 years old. If I’m going to go for it, it’s now. I’m not 21 anymore. I just can’t afford 18 months out of competition right now, financially and competitively.”

“It was sold to me, five fights this year, back to back and a million dollars at the end of it. That was music to my ears. It’s not turned out like that and it’s not the PFL’s fault. The two fights I did have for them were amazing. They are the best promotion I’ve ever fought for.”

The Manchester man went on to say, “I was so excited for this year and everything that would have came with it. It’s just so unfortunate the way it happened with COVID, but everybody is going again. The world is back to normal, and I need to fight. I don’t know what is going to happen from here on out to be honest.”

On his decision not to take the stipend payment offered by the PFL, Brendan explained, “There was [sic] a couple of reasons why I didn’t accept it. One was because I didn’t really need it. I did well fighting in the PFL last year. I didn’t need the handout. The second reason is because I want to be active.”

“A thousand dollars a month for five months. How is that going to keep you afloat for 18 months? No matter where you live in the world you can’t get by with that. A massive thank you to the PFL for putting it out there but I signed for competition. I signed to fight. I’m a fighter. I’m a professional athlete, this is what I do.”

The PFL run a seasonal tournament with the winner of each division earning a one million dollar paycheck. Loughnane has not yet had the opportunity to compete for that prize. A stint on the sidelines is not as comfortable for a fighter like Loughnane in comparison to past winner Lance Palmer.

“If I had just won two million dollars,” said Loughnane. “Me and you would not be sat here having this conversation. It’s very different for some people in this promotion. Someone like me has not made that kind of money yet.”

“The likes of Rory [MacDonald] and all these guys, they’ve all had great careers and made huge amounts of money. But me, my story is not over yet, my chapter is not written. I’m nowhere near those guys financial situations.”

“I’ve had thirteen years of hard work and dedication, it’s time for my dues. I’ve had tough fights all over the world for all the different promotions. I finally got my break this year. Nobody foreseen this coming. I don’t blame anybody for this. Not PFL, not myself, nobody. We’re on the other side of it we all need a resolution here.”

“I do want to say that I’m very happy with the PFL. I can not state that enough. Let’s just hope that they put a few shows on this year and this conversation will be irrelevant”, a smiling Loughnane stated.

Check out the full interview with Andy Stevenson above to hear Brendan give his thoughts on Fight Island. He speaks about his time in camp in Thailand and sparring with Petr Yan. Brendan also speaks in great detail about his current situation and possible solutions to this issue with the PFL.

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.