Assessing the Soaring Popularity of Combat Sports around the World


The popularity of combat sports has grown massively over the last decade, turning the industry into a mega empire with more than 300 million passionate followers worldwide.

From classic wrestling and the tradition of boxing to the new obsession around MMA and the UFC which has catapulted this fighting style into the international limelight, fighting sports have drawn in spectators for hundreds of years.

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Now, thanks to global television beaming match-ups around the world and technological advancements making it easier than ever before to catch a fight, combat sports continue to reach new fans with every bout.

From viewing fights online to tracking bet news to placing wagers on your favorite fighters, there are countless ways to follow bouts and show your fandom. This article will explore the mass-growing appeal of MMA, boxing, and wrestling.


One of the oldest pastimes in history, wrestling goes back around 15,000 years with cave drawings in France depicting men grappling for supremacy. Fast forward to today and wrestling is one of the most loved, entertaining, and dramatic sports in the world.

The explosion of WWE, particularly at the turn of the century, has seen wrestling become a sport loved by both old and young, with the likes of The Rock, John Cena, and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin heroes in the wrestling ring. Such has been the popularity of wrestling that many of its major stars have switched to the big screen and enjoyed mainstream fame.

The narratives and storylines thrill fans while the physical endurance and skill displayed by the pros make it the perfect mix of drama and competition.


The United Fighting Championship, famously known as the UFC, is now a billion-dollar industry having enjoyed huge success over the last 20 years. Smashing pay-per-view records and taking the world by storm, it netted a record annual revenue of $ 1.3 billion in 2023. This was a 13% increase on the previous year, showing MMA’s continued climb as one of the most-watched competitions in the world.

The raw nature of MMA is a major appeal for many fans while the UFC runs regular fights and events which means followers of the sport have a constant stream of bouts to watch involving competitors of all different levels.

It's a fact Mixed Martial Artists like Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov have become household names and this proves how far the UFC has come in a relatively short space of time. It is a sport that is now fully in the public consciousness, dominating column inches and bouts being beamed to more than 165 territories.


Like wrestling, boxing has a long and storied history. Dating back to Ancient Egypt, the sport was adopted and established by the Greeks as an Olympic game in 688 BC. The bouts we see today have evolved from the 19th century, established by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules which was introduced in 1867. This occurred in Great Britain mainly and developed from the prizefights that were common between the 16th and 18th centuries.

With different weights and belts, boxing has always captured the imagination of its fans with fighters battling for the ultimate title of being champion of the world. From the fierce wonder of legends Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather through to today’s boxing heroes including Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, the thrill of watching two heavyweight athletes compete in the ring has remained one of the most adrenaline-inducing sights for sport lovers.

The discipline shown and training required to reach the pinnacle of boxing requires complete dedication while the power to pack a punch and knockdown fellow big-hitters shows supreme talent and a ferocious desire to stand on top of the world as king.

Summing Up

Combat Sports continue to grow in popularity with more and more people watching fights and also taking up the pursuits as part of an active lifestyle.

With hundreds of millions of fans tuning in to see the top fighters going at it in prime-time events, wrestling, boxing, and MMA are already supreme sports but also boast the potential to grow further still. The advent of online platforms showing fights and producing hourly content on these sports and its stars, means current followers can consume their passion regularly while all three fighting styles will continue to attract new fans keen to explore the disciplines and drama.

From attending live fights, to watching online and television to placing bets and joining communities via social media, the world of MMA, boxing, and wrestling is vast.

No longer are combat sports consigned to the ring. Today, fights are broadcast all around the world and the stars of the show are known by the majority of people, whether sports lovers or not. The future of combat sports is huge and exciting for all involved.

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