Linton Vassell ‘Can’t Complain’ About PFL Ownership

linton vassell
Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Recently several Bellator fighters have complained about their experiences thus far after their promotional home was absorbed by PFL late last year. Don’t count Linton Vassell among them.

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In an exclusive chat with Ringside Intel, the former light heavyweight champion spoke about life with new faces taking charge in the corporate office.

Linton Vassell, who will be facing Valentin Moladsky for the third time in the main event at PFL 4 on Thursday, couldn’t echo the sentiments of fellow former champs Gegard Mousasi and Douglas Lima when talking about the pre-fight logistics.

“I can’t say a bad word. Travel has been fine. They’re pretty good at letting you know what’s happening, especially when you get there. Interviews are done on time. You get someone who is texting with you and actually coordinating with you. I’ve had a good experience, to be honest, since I’ve been there. They’re treating me well. And the main thing is I’m actually getting fights and they’re paying me good.”

Linton Vassell declined to give any specific monetary figures but said “I don’t want to get in trouble…but Bellator wasn’t paying no million.”

Before the ink dried on PFL’s acquisition of Bellator, Vassell believed that the changing of the guard at the executive level was apparent below the boardroom.

“There weren’t as many events going on and you noticed certain people were disappearing. Obviously, I made a lot of friends there, being there for so long. They weren’t there so much. Fighters were leaving, disappearing, maybe getting cut. So yeah, you definitely noticed the shift. Even though it was more hearsay, you knew something was coming.”

Linton Vassell: ‘I Still Got It’

PFL 4 represents more than just a tournament win for Vassell, it’s an attempt to rebound not only from a failed debut in his new employer, move past the mental letdown of his unfulfilled ambitions in Bellator, and put a stamp on his rivalry with Moldasky. 

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As the Scott Coker era came to a close, Vassell was enjoying a five-fight win streak with a proposed shot at Ryan Bader’s heavyweight belt. Unfortunately for “The Swarm, a bout with COVID scrapped the title shot which led him to his first fight under the PFL banner. That win streak ended with a third-round TKO loss to Denis Goltsov. 

“I’m proper annoyed with myself. This will show that I still got it. One for myself. Two, obviously, for Moldalsky for calling me out as well. Because even though I beat him, he probably saw my last fight and he was the one who called me out. He probably thought ‘ok, I’ll get him now.’”

In their original contest in 2019, Vassell dropped a unanimous decision to the Ukrainian Fedor Emelienanenko protege. He evened the score in March of 2023 with a first-round knockout.

The 41-year-old, who found new life after moving to heavyweight in 2019, doesn’t feel the end is near despite “messing up big time” in his SmartCage debut. “I’m going full steam.”

Linton Vassell and Valentin Moldasky will conclude their trilogy at PFL 4 which takes place on Thursday from the Mohegan Sun Arena. The event will air exclusively on ESPN+.

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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