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Volume 25 No. 62
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Weekend Plans With Professional Fighters League Co-Founder Donn Davis

Davis recently took in a Capitals game in DC alongside PFL fighter Kayla Harrison
Photo: DONN DAVIS

Professional Fighters League co-Founder & Chair DONN DAVIS knows the circuit's highly-anticipated New Year's Eve bout at MSG is still over a month away, but that does not stop the longtime DC venture capitalist from putting in the hours he feels are necessary for the league to attain success -- even if that means sacrificing some free-time on the weekends. Davis caught up with THE DAILY earlier this week during DC's first snow of the winter, "school cancellations and everything," to touch on the PFL's first year and how he balances his heavy workload with being a father. 

THE DAY JOB: I focus on our innovation and business model. How are we disrupting the model of MMA, how are we re-imagining MMA, how are we going to become a new market leader? We focus on hiring and recruiting the team and then creating business development partnerships. We’ve quickly become the new fight in town. We’ve turned a majority of our focus on the PFL Championship on New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden. It’s going to be a historic night where we’ll crown six world champions in six weight classes. Only a dozen MMA athletes have ever earned $1M in a fight, whereas we’ll award six $1M checks to our respective champions in one night.

COVERING THE BASES: On Saturday I attend every one of my kids’ events. My son is an excellent catcher in baseball and plays on a couple teams, so I attend maybe 100 baseball games a year. My daughter’s activities are a more eclectic, so I see ballet, jazz dancing, softball and basketball throughout the year. During my kids’ events I never take work calls. I typically handle about 100 emails each Saturday though. I’m a big sports TV consumer. I always have the big games on and I particularly love all the sports analysis shows. During the week I record “PTI,” “SPEAK FOR YOURSELF” and “FIRST TAKE” and I condense those 20 hours of shows into three hours of viewing on Saturday. 

WORK YOUR PLAN: On Sunday, I start early in the morning and I squirrel myself into a corner booth a half-mile away from home at my local country club. A place that nobody can find me -- they make me my favorite mushroom and swiss omelette and they bring a constant stream of unsweetened ice tea with extra lemon and extra ice. This is the time where for a couple hours I plan out what we must get done that week on PFL. Then I do a series of calls with the management team and we divide and conquer our work for the week with a focus on our top priorities. Basically, Saturday I use time to immerse in the family while still getting work done through email, then Sunday I try to take 3-4 hours to hide away and plan out the week ahead. I’m a big believer in weekend sleep as well, I try to get 9-10 hours both nights. My dad was a traveling salesman, so we always ate dinner out, and now our family habit is very similar. It’s just how I grew up. 

COMMITTED TO THE FUTURE: No golf and no movies for me. I’m passionate at building companies and unless you give it everything you’ve got, the company’s never going to get built. The UFC is worth $7B, and we’re the upstart in town. We’re trying to make a real difference, and that’s a full-time gig.

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.