Kayla Harrison gets it.
Randy Couture understands it.
For both, working with a legend in the sport like Ray Sefo is what makes the Professional Fighters League in the top-two of the mixed martial arts world.
Sefo, who holds the title of president for the most innovative and fastest growing league in the world, has earned the respect of legends such as Harrison and Couture because he has been through it all inside – and outside – of the cage.
“It’s huge because he has done it and been in there,” said Harrison, a reigning PFL world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. “He has been in brawls and gets it from both a business-standpoint and that of the fighter.”
Sefo is a former 2000 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up along with holding the 1997 WKA World Super Heavyweight title. He retired from active competition with a kickboxing record of 56-22-1 including 38 finishes, a 5-1 mark as a professional boxer while also winning a pair of MMA bouts.
“My strength (when competing) was my mind,” Sefo said. “You would have to knock me out or finish me for the fight to end. I was willing to go all the way so I understand what these (fighters) go through.”
Growing up in New Zealand, Sefo immediately found a home in the world of boxing before adding in Muay Thai and kickboxing to his resume.
“I’ve been in martial arts since I was five,” Sefo said. “Boxing was big in New Zealand. My dad used to box, my uncles and cousins (did also). That is where it started. I was competing in kickboxing and martial arts for 24-25 years and won six world titles in six different weight classes throughout my career.”
While his days as an active fighter are no longer, Sefo remains a constant figure in the gym and around events all over as he helps the PFL build the largest and most complete talent of fighters in the sport today.
“Ray has an amazing eye for scouting both male and female talent,” said Couture, a former world champion and accomplished amateur wrestler. “He has been in this space for over 20 years.”