The executives behind the rapid growth of the Professional Fighters League all have an incredible story of their own to tell.
Peter Murray is chief among those as the CEO for the promotion, which features a unique setup that sees fighters compete through regular season, playoffs and a championship format to come away with one of six million-dollar prizes.
Murray, though, really had his heart set on a life and career far away from mixed martial arts growing up.
“When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a police officer,” said Murray, in an interview with Dave Meltzer on The Playbook. “I have family in the NYPD. I grew up a New York City kid in the Bronx. I thought they were leaders in the community, doing the right thing on behalf of people, helping people.”
For Murray, though, things started to shift when he felt a calling to another career.
“I took the test, passed the test, got into the Academy and I decided to pursue my passion at the time, and that was really the intersection when I was in college,” he said. “I was trying to figure out, like many young adults, what they wanted to do and that was definitely a plan. But I decided to follow a passion, and that passion is in marketing.”
Small steps at first became much bigger leaps ahead in the advertisement game, as Murray would work his way into a position with the National Football League in 1996. Over the next 13 years, he was a key member of the NFL Films team before shifting his focus once more.
“I felt that I was no longer growing,” said Murray, who joined William Morris Endeavor. “I was in an enviable role, but I was no longer growing from an experiential (standpoint).”
Roles with Insignia Sports and Entertainment, which he helped build from the ground up, and Under Armour followed before Murray landed with the PFL.
Now, Murray is tasked with his fellow executives with building the league into one of the top promotions in the world.
“There’s room for another leader in this next evolution of the sport,” Murray said. “I have amazing partners, we have titans in our ownership group from media, sports, entertainment and technology.
“Our journey is to change the game, and to change the game, we’re launching MMA for the avid MMA fan as well as the non-avid fans.”
That includes the release of an OTT platform that provides fans with classic fight footage along with exclusive content from a roster that includes the likes of Kayla Harrison, Rory MacDonald and Ray Cooper III. PFL events will air in 2021 on the ESPN family of networks in North America along with over 160 countries on premium distributors worldwide.