Andre Harrison (19-0) is one of the marquee fighters in the new Professional Fighters League. As his story suggests, there are things that set the PFL apart—sometimes rather sharply—from other MMA organizations. In the cage and behind the scenes, the PFL seems equipped and determined to make a run at the top of a stagnating MMA hierarchy.

If Harrison wins the featherweight championship in this first season of the PFL, he'll earn $1 million—an eye-popping number for anyone unaccustomed to the main event of a UFC pay-per-view, and even then a single such appearance doesn't usually do it. By the end of 2018, six PFL fighters will each take home $1 million, out of a total prize pool of $10 million.

That's a lot of money—unsustainable, even, for an upstart promotion. Until, that is, you look at the fearsome cadre of sports and entertainment heavyweights who recently signed on as PFL investors.

In August, the PFL announced $28 million in investing from a group including actor-comedian Kevin Hart, television mogul Mark Burnett, celebrity motivational speaker Tony Robbins, and Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals and the NBA's Washington Wizards, among other things.

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