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Lance Palmer looking forward to PFL’s $1M tournament, though details remain murky

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In the World Series of Fighting promotion’s transition to the Professional Fighters League, some information appears to be getting lost in translation.

At least that’s the case for featherweight Lance Palmer. The 29-year-old Team Alpha Male representative is looking forward to getting back in the thick of things when he competes under the PFL brand for the first time at a charity show in Washington, D.C., this Thursday.

Palmer (11-3) twice held the 145-pound championship in WSOF, which became the PFL this past April.

It’s Palmer’s understanding that this next fight will be a precursor to his placement in a $1 million tournament that is supposed to take place in 2018. But updates on the tournament have been few and far between since officials announced it as part of the promotion’s reboot and Palmer would appreciate some clarification.

“Either it’s a problem with communication on their part or it’s just that they don’t know how the system is going to work next year yet,” Palmer told MMA Fighting. “That’s something that should already be planned and set in place, honestly, because we’re almost in November now and if they plan on starting this thing in January, we should be signing to lock into these contracts for 2018. It’s supposed to be like a season so you basically sign for the entire year I guess, but I haven’t heard anything about it other that it’s going to be a tournament style and the million dollar prize at the end, that’s about it.

“Even though it’s a new name, it’s still the same people like Ray Sefo, Carlos Silva, a lot of the people that run the ins-and-outs of it are all the same people, so I don’t know what the confusion is there. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Palmer faces UFC veteran Steven Siler (28-15) in Thursday’s co-main event and he hopes a win propels him to rematch with Andre Harrison, the man who beat Palmer for the WSOF featherweight title this past March. However, even if Palmer gets past Siler, he’s aware that it could be a while before he gets a chance to reclaim his belt and that facing Harrison again is by no means guaranteed.

“The whole deal with the rematch with Andre is that the tournament series that’s supposed to happen next year – that’s supposed to be everybody fights to get seeded for this tournament, then the tournament happens – then the finals of the tournament happens on New Year’s Eve or something at the end of 2018, so I kind of knew when they took the belt away after Andre and I fought that there was going to be some sort of changes. They didn’t really announce that stuff until after our fight in March,” said Palmer.

“Obviously, I want to fight him again, I want to run it back again, 100 percent. Anything can happen in a fight and the worst thing for me that could happen was breaking my hand a minute-and-a-half into the fight, but I still fought through the injury, I still lost the decision regardless. …

“Now we’re going to go through this tournament series next year if this thing actually happens the way they’re saying it is. It will definitely be a lot better if we’re both fighting in the finals of the tournament for a million dollar prize.”

In the first round against Harrison, Palmer broke his hand and battled through the injury only to lose a unanimous decision after 25 minutes of action. Specifically, it was Palmer’s metacarpal area that was injured, which wasn’t anything new for “The Party”. He’d injured those same bones in his last fight against Alexandre Almeida, though he would go on to win that fight by majority decision for his second WSOF title.

Palmer assumes that if he stays healthy and keeps winning, he can win another championship or at least get his hands on that seven-figure prize. It’s unclear if a title belt will be part of the tournament, which is just one more question that Palmer has had to deal with.

While Palmer is no stranger to having fought at charity events (he’s done so twice before when his MMA career was just beginning), the former Ohio State University wrestling standout didn’t know that would be the case for his PFL debut, which has caused him some headaches with sponsors who might have expected a bigger bang for their buck given that the WSOF has previously aired events on NBC Sports.

“I didn’t even know this was going to be a charity event,” said Palmer. “They didn’t say anything about it. They didn’t say that it wasn’t going to be on NBC Sports. These are all things that should have been told for us, just for sponsors. People sponsor you because we’re on NBC Sports, not because we’re on a live stream on a website, so there was a little frustration there.”

Thursday’s “Fight For Children” PFL event takes place at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., featuring a headlining heavyweight bout between Blagoy Ivanov (15-1) and Caio Alencar (11-1).


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