Powerful organizations behind MMA
If there’s anything that the past decade has taught us, it’s that the reputation of a sport at any time can change dramatically and MMA is that sport. Despite skepticism and a healthy dose of stigma associated with ‘cage fighting’, the sport and its professionals have risen above it all to become a pretty popular sport across the globe and a lot of this can be put down to the success of some of the biggest and most powerful organizations in the sport. From the world-renowned UFC, to the women-centric organization that is Invicta, we’re taking a look at some of these organizations and how they’ve pushed to become the most powerful in the industry today.
Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC)
Mention MMA to anyone, fan or otherwise, and it’s likely that their minds will instantly go to the US-based UFC. In autumn 2017, the world gathered together to watch the well-hyped Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match that produced four million buys on pay-per-view. Of course, this was a boxing match and the debut one at that for Conor McGregor, but one thing is certain – it brought these two sports together in such a way that the UFC certainly benefited from the publicity, not that it needed much!
The UFC was the first ever MMA organization and has since grown to be the strongest. It was first created as a way to determine the most effective of all the martial arts forms but as players began to drift between forms throughout matches, a new form of fighting was born – mixed martial arts. For that reason alone, the sport has the UFC to thank for the birth of what is a growing fighting style. What’s more, with 25 years under its belt, this promotion has had room to grow and adapt to public demand and global requirements. Today, UFC programs are broadcast across 145 countries to over 800 million TV households with every fight they show and considering its base in Las Vegas, the UFC is certainly at the heart of the action. In short, if you’re looking for an exciting fight with all the hype, bells and whistles of big Vegas matches, then the UFC is the place to go.
ONE Championship (ONE)
The ONE Championship is, without a doubt, Asia’s answer to the UFC. This particular company is based in Singapore but has certainly made its mark across the entire continent as the biggest and best mixed martial arts organization. Their focus on vision, tech, timing and location is already proving to be the key to success for the organization and with stars like Angela Lee, Amir Khan and Shinya Aoki on their roster, to name just a few.
This organization is one of the youngest on the list, with the first competition having only taken place in September of 2011, but has certainly gone on to prove its influence in Asia. With over 40 events to their name and a broadcast deal with Fox Sports Asia, their success isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon. With further global expansion and some of their key stars already making their way to the global stage, it could only be a matter of time before ONE is giving UFC a run for its money.
Another American MMA company, Bellator is still a young contender in this list, but with three years over the aforementioned ONE championship. Established in 2008, the Bellator MMA championships are based in Santa Monica, California but that certainly doesn’t mean that they’re any less watchable than UFC matches! In fact, Bellator has some of the top-ranked fighters across the globe, not least including Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi, Paul Daley and more.
A small number of MMA promotions hold the majority (almost all) of the talent in the sport and therefore dominate the market, but this particular fighting championship is certainly the place for veterans and ex-UFC greats. With the likes of Ryan Bader, Fedor Emelianenko and up-and-coming stars Lorenz Larkin and Michael McDonald to their name, they are certainly an organization to watch. Alone they’ve held upwards of 200 events and just like ONE, this organization could certainly be catching up to the UFC in the near future.
For all-female fighting, the Invicta Fighting Championship is completely unrivaled. This organization came about as a result of UFC’s parent company Zuffa buying out Strikeforce in early 2011. With the female members of Strikeforce concerned about UFC’s lack of representation for women, Shannon Knapp went on to gain funding alongside her new business partner, Janet Martin, and thus, Invicta was born. With the UFC still receiving frustrated complaints from female fighters, it’s easy to see why this organization has become a much-needed addition to the industry.
Invicta now sees some of the most thrilling and nail-biting matches between some of the best female fighters in the industry and has a strong roster including Virna Jandiroba and Sarah Kaufman to name just two. With a history of free streamed events and online pay-per-view as early as 2012, this organization has had a huge focus on accessibility for its fans which is just one reason as to why Invicta is quickly growing traction.
Mixed martial arts events are becoming much more widely watched around the world. From the globally popular UFC competitions to the lesser-known but equally as important Invicta organization, the growth of MMA as a sport is undeniable. From world champions to up-and-coming stars, the organizations we’ve listed here are just a few among many offering fighters the chance to take their skill to a global stage.