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Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson playing pickleball.
Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson competing at the 2024 Carvana Mesa Arizona Cup. PPA Tour

Major signings ahead of MLP draft

DALLAS, TX - We knew that Tuesday would be a big news day with the MLP Premier level draft starting at 6pm ET, but two big pieces of news have broken before the first pick has even been made.

First of all, Riley Newman reached an agreement with the UPA and will now play 9 PPA events this year—in addition to a full MLP schedule.

It was thought that the 77-time PPA medalist would play almost exclusively MLP events after not reaching an agreement with the UPA ahead of the PPA/MLP merger, but a celebratory Instagram story confirms that we’ll see him at several PPA venues across the country in 2024.

His first events back will be MLP Atlanta and the Vizzy Atlanta Slam, both set to take place in May.

As if that wasn’t enough, all members of the ‘Johnson 5’—a group made up of JW Johnson, Dylan Frazier, Jorja Johnson, Gabriel Tardio, and Milan Rane—have signed 3-year deals with the UPA.

This group was one of the big question marks ahead of the draft after not signing with MLP or PPA during the original “Tour Wars” that took place in August.

Having all these players competing at both MLP and PPA events will only raise the quality of competition in each format and create more appeal for fans.

It’s going to be a fun year for pickleball.

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