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Lance Palmer confident he'll be millionaire but keeps options open with PFL

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Former WSOF featherweight champion Lance Palmer expects to be a millionaire by the end of PFL’s first season. He also wants to keep his options open.

Palmer wasn’t tied to PFL when it was re-formed from the WSOF, and there were a few pressing issues he needed to address before signing on to the new organization, which offers fighters like him the chance at a $1 million payout by winning its first season of competition.

“There was a lot of negotiating between the fight purses leading up to the tournament and keeping my structured pay that I already had, and the option to be a free agent,” Palmer (12-3), who meets Bekbulat Magomedov (19-1) at PFL 1, told MMAjunkie Radio.

Palmer cites ex-heavyweight champ Blagoy Ivanov, who exercised his option and wound up headlining a UFC card opposite ex-heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos.

The financial opportunities at the rebranded PFL are enough to entice Palmer to stick around. But he’s also aware of the long-term challenges posed by its structure.

On one hand, the PFL offers an opportunity to stay very active, with regular season fights in addition to bouts in the playoffs and tournament finals. On the other, the increased activity ups the potential for injury, which could nullify the financial benefits of regular competition.

Plus, Palmer said, there’s a “big debate” when it comes to the fighter’s contractual obligations to the promotion when a tournament is won.

“It’s a great opportunity, but it’s a lot of fights in one year,” he said. “If you get injured, you’re not able to continue.”

For now, he’s forging ahead with the aim of capturing a massive payday, one that could go a long way toward securing his financial future. His fight with Magomedov will help decide where he’s seeded in the playoffs, which could have a big impact on his ability to win the final tournament.

The two meet on the NBCSN-televised main card on June 7 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, N.Y.

Palmer has no doubt he’ll be the last featherweight standing in the first season. But he’ll be taking extra care to make sure he holds up physically. Any slip, and the $1 million could slip away.

“Hopefully I can stay healthy,” he said, “because staying healthy is the key to winning this tournament over all else.”

For more on PFL 1, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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