Lance Palmer wants to prove he’s ‘one of the best in the world’ after ending ‘tumultuous’ relationship with PFL


Lance Palmer had multiple reigns as the WSOF and PFL featherweight champion over the past decade, but feels it’s time to dive head-first into other challenges after ending what he described as a “tumultuous” relationship with the PFL.

Unhappy with the company’s decisions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Palmer completed his deal with a win over Sheymon Moraes this past June and recently became, in his own words, an “unrestricted free agent.”

” I honestly don’t believe [PFL] would be interested in resigning me so that kinda gives me the freedom do what I want,” Palmer stated this week on The MMA Hour .. “Obviously, I have interest in going other places and there’s a lot of fights that I would like to get involved in, hopefully to push myself over this next run, wherever it is.”

Palmer won 11 fights in a row between 2017 and 2019 to claim two season titles in the PFL and pocket a pair of $1 million checks along with his fight purses. It was a profitable run for him, no doubt, but fighting isn’t only about money for the 35-year-old veteran.

“The Bellator featherweight division is stacked, the UFC featherweight division is stacked,” Palmer said. Even though I won 2018, 2019 season titles, I feel that I did not get credit as much as those who beat me because they don’t know my identity. You can be the champion of any organization, but if it’s not the UFC, you’re really not going to get the notoriety of being a world champion. It was something I saw coming. While I have made quite a bit of money fighting for PFL in the past few years, it is also true that I did not come to the sport because of that .”


Palmer stated that he is enjoying his family right now, just a few weeks following the birth of his second baby and hasn’t yet explored free agency. Although he knows that Bellator and UFC will probably pay him less than he made at PFL for his services, he believes competing in major promotions would give him the feeling of being “complete” as an athlete.

“I’d like to talk to Sean Shelby, I’d like to talk to [Scott] Coker, Mike Kogan, kind of see what they’re thinking also, because I’ve been around a long time but I don’t feel that I’m done yet,” Palmer said. “I’ve had talks with different people and like, ‘Man, you’ve done really well, you’ve made good money,’ but for me it’s not about the money as much as it is about proving that I can hang with these guys and I am one of the best in the world.

” I have never had the chance to fight tough men. I was on a 11-fight winning streak and beat a lot of tough guys. But they don’t know how good you are. Even though I was on an 11-fight winning streak and beat a lot of tough guys, they have no idea how good you are.”

The dream scenario for Palmer would be facing one of UFC’s biggest stars at 145 pounds ever: Max Holloway.

“A man I admire, I follow him Instagram and I love his fights. “I still consider him the champ. Once the champ, always the champ in my book. His featherweight division is one that I admire and would fight, and I’m proud to call him my champion. He’s a super dangerous opponent, really good striker, really good on the ground as well, you just don’t see it as much because a lot of his fights are on the feet. Although he is young, he has been around for quite some time so it’s not surprising that he would make an excellent opponent. Although I admire the man a lot, I’d love to be able to fight him someday. That would be cool.”

Palmer holds no grudges towards PFL officials but disagreed with their decision to run no events during the COVID-19 pandemic after UFC and Bellator resumed doing shows.

” The year of COVID is kind of the beginning of things. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye,” he stated. The main point, I think is that at the beginning we thought there could be events at the end of 2020,. Talks were held about it. They kind of promised us they would have at most one fight by the end the year. When UFC and Bellator and other organizations started having fights again, it kind of made it a little more tumultuous and that was kind of when I started getting a bad taste in my mouth.

“It was not that I did not agree with COVID and that we should have people travelling around. It was just that they didn’t want to give me any back pay. They also refused to release me during that time because they couldn’t fulfill my contract for fights. .”

Palmer revealed that he requested his release but PFL officials said it wasn’t a breach of contract because they were going through a pandemic. Palmer said he felt “shelved” and considered filing for arbitration, but was advised against it by his team. Palmer regretted not proceeding with arbitration, though he isn’t sure how it would have turned out.

“Then we got in 2021 and I just felt I was kind of stuck in the mud,” Palmer said. It’s hard enough to fight, but it can be very difficult if the people you are fighting for don’t share the same values.

“They kind of took my love for the sport. Getting through ’21 and the first fight of ’22, I was like, man, I’ve got to change this up, it’s my career on the line every time I fight, it has nothing to do with them. And I had to get that through my head like, being angry or holding a grudge doesn’t do anything for me if I’m losing these fights.”

Palmer lost three in a row after PFL’s pandemic break, dropping decisions to Bubba Jenkins, Movlid Khaybulaev, and Chris Wade, before completing his deal with a decision win over Moraes.

“I saw a psychologist after my fight with Sheymon Moraes. He helped me to be more present, be fully in the moment, and have fun. That’s why I love to fight .”