Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has witnessed explosive growth in popularity over the years, thanks in no small part to the numerous organizations and promotions that showcase the world’s best fighters. From thrilling matchups to memorable moments, these MMA organizations and promotions have played a huge role in shaping the sport. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 best MMA organizations and promotions of all time, each contributing to the global phenomenon that is MMA.
Top 10 Best MMA Organizations and Promotions of all Time
The top 10 MMA biggest and popular promotions are:
1. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), founded on November 12, 1993, in Denver, Colorado, is arguably the most renowned and influential MMA organization globally. The UFC has played a pivotal role in popularizing mixed martial arts and has produced numerous legendary fighters who have left an indelible mark on the sport.
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, the UFC boasts a vast roster of fighters, with some of the top names in MMA history gracing its Octagon. Fighters like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and more, have achieved iconic status within the organization, with championship reigns that solidify their legacies.
The UFC has expanded its global footprint over the years, hosting events in various countries and drawing a massive international fanbase. Its commitment to high-quality production, competitive matchups, and star-studded fight cards has made it a dominant force in the MMA world. As the UFC continues to evolve, it remains a driving force in shaping the sport’s future and delivering unforgettable moments for fans worldwide.
2. Bellator MMA
Bellator MMA, founded in 2008, is one of the leading MMA organizations in the world, providing a formidable platform for fighters to showcase their skills. Based in Santa Monica, California, Bellator has gained a reputation for its exciting and competitive fights.
Throughout its history, Bellator has featured a roster of top-notch fighters, including Michael “Venom” Page, Michael Chandler, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Douglas Lima. These fighters have not only achieved championship success but have also earned recognition as some of the sport’s best.
Bellator’s unique tournament format sets it apart, offering fighters a clear path to title opportunities and creating a dynamic and unpredictable atmosphere. The organization has continued to expand its reach, hosting events globally and captivating fans with memorable matchups. Bellator’s commitment to innovation and top-quality fights ensures its place as a prominent force in the MMA landscape.
3. Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA)
Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) is a prominent mixed martial arts organization based in Grozny, Russia. Founded in 2014, ACA has rapidly risen in the MMA world and has earned a reputation for hosting high-level fights and nurturing talent from the region and beyond.
The organization boasts an impressive roster of champions, including the likes of Muslim Magomedov, Magomedrasul Gasanov, Ustarmagomed Gadzhidaudov, and Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov. These fighters have not only achieved success within ACA but have also gained recognition on the global stage of MMA.
With its headquarters in Grozny, ACA has been expanding its reach, hosting events in various countries and attracting a diverse international audience. The organization’s commitment to professionalism and its focus on delivering exciting matchups continue to solidify its position as one of the top MMA promotions in the world, offering both fighters and fans an exhilarating MMA experience.
4. ONE Championship
ONE Championship is a renowned MMA organization that stands out not only for its thrilling fights but also for its unique approach to martial arts. Founded in 2011 by Chatri Sityodtong, ONE Championship has grown to become one of the largest MMA organizations in the world, with a significant presence in Asia.
Headquartered in Singapore, ONE Championship has made a name for itself by promoting not only MMA but also various forms of martial arts, including Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling. The organization emphasizes values such as honor, respect, and integrity, and it aims to inspire people to live their best lives through martial arts.
Some of the top fighters in ONE Championship include legends like Singya Aoki, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Aung La Nsang, Bibiano Fernandes, and Angela Lee, who have captivated audiences with their skills and sportsmanship. ONE Championship events are known for their production quality and the showcasing of martial arts traditions from different cultures.
In addition to its exciting fights, ONE Championship has a strong commitment to social responsibility and frequently engages in charitable activities and initiatives. This unique blend of world-class martial arts, values, and philanthropy has contributed to ONE Championship’s success and its status as a leading MMA promotion in Asia and beyond.
5. Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF)
Rizin Fighting Federation, known as Rizin FF, is a dynamic and rapidly growing mixed martial arts organization that emerged on the MMA scene in 2015. Founded in Japan, Rizin FF has become a beacon of innovation in the sport, captivating audiences with its unique approach and commitment to showcasing elite fighters. Headquartered in Tokyo, this organization has rekindled Japan’s MMA legacy while simultaneously attracting a global fanbase.
Rizin FF is renowned for its diverse fight events, which span various weight classes and rule sets, including standard MMA regulations, kickboxing, and even special exhibition matches that add a touch of entertainment to the sport. The promotion has successfully lured top-tier talent from Japan and around the world, with fighters like Kleber Koike Erbst, Yutaka Saito, Mikuru Asakura, John “Macapá” Teixeira, and others rising to stardom under its banner.
The organization’s distinctive presentation combines traditional Japanese martial arts aesthetics with modern MMA, offering a visually stunning and unforgettable experience for fans. Notably, Rizin FF’s commitment to cross-promotional events, where fighters from different organizations clash, has led to thrilling matchups and boosted its global appeal. As it continues to push boundaries and deliver electrifying MMA action, Rizin FF has firmly established itself as a major player in the MMA world, providing fans worldwide with a unique and enthralling MMA experience.
6. Invicta Fighting Championships
Invicta Fighting Championships, commonly known as Invicta FC, is a premier all-female mixed martial arts (MMA) organization that has played a pivotal role in promoting women’s MMA since its inception in 2012. Founded by Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin, Invicta FC has provided a platform for female fighters to showcase their skills, dedication, and athleticism on a global stage. With its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, this organization has been instrumental in shaping the careers of numerous women fighters and contributing to the growth of women’s MMA worldwide.
Invicta FC hosts regular fight events featuring athletes across various weight classes, from strawweight to featherweight. Its commitment to promoting women’s talent and diversity in the sport has made it a key player in the MMA landscape. Many of the world’s top female fighters have graced the Invicta FC cage, including stars like Lisa Verzosa, Karina Rodriguez, Kanako Murata, and Alesha Zappitella, among others. The organization’s emphasis on professionalism, fair competition, and opportunities for female fighters has garnered it a dedicated fan base and respect within the MMA community. As Invicta FC continues to provide a platform for women to shine in the world of MMA, it remains a crucial catalyst in the growth and recognition of women’s combat sports.
Pancrase is a renowned Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA) organization with a rich history dating back to 1993 when it was founded by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Named after the ancient Greek sport of Pankration, Pancrase has played a significant role in the development and popularization of MMA, both in Japan and internationally.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Pancrase has been a breeding ground for many MMA legends and pioneers. It has a unique hybrid rule set that combines elements of professional wrestling, submission wrestling, and striking, creating a distinct style of MMA. Pancrase is known for its emphasis on technical skills, with fighters often showcasing a well-rounded set of abilities in the ring.
Throughout its history, Pancrase has featured numerous legendary fighters, including Josh Barnett, Semmy Schilt, Ken Shamrock, and more, who have gone on to have successful careers in other major MMA organizations like the UFC and PRIDE. Pancrase events continue to draw audiences and produce top-level talent, contributing to the global growth of MMA. As one of the oldest MMA promotions in the world, Pancrase holds a special place in the sport’s history and continues to be a respected organization within the MMA community.
8. M-1 Global
M-1 Global is a prominent mixed martial arts (MMA) organization with a strong presence in Russia and around the world. Founded in 1997, M-1 Global has played a pivotal role in promoting MMA in Russia and Eastern Europe, contributing to the growth of the sport in the region.
The organization is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has a reputation for showcasing high-level MMA talent from Russia and other countries. M-1 Global hosts a series of events, including M-1 Challenge, where fighters compete in various weight classes, displaying their skills and vying for championship titles.
Over the years, M-1 Global has produced notable MMA fighters such as Sergey Morozov, Nate Landwehr, Roman Bogatov, and more, who have gone on to compete in top international organizations like the UFC. The promotion has a diverse roster of fighters skilled in various disciplines, making for exciting and competitive matchups.
M-1 Global’s commitment to developing MMA in Russia and its consistent delivery of thrilling fights have earned it a respected place in the MMA landscape. With a strong emphasis on showcasing talent and providing a platform for fighters to shine, M-1 Global continues to be a significant player in the world of mixed martial arts.
9. Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA)
Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) is a renowned mixed martial arts (MMA) organization based in the United States. Established in 2017, LFA quickly gained recognition as a leading promotion for nurturing emerging MMA talent such as Daniel “The Determined” Argueta, Darrius “Beast Mode” Flowers, Christy “Tsunami” Tyquiengco, etc., and providing a pathway to the larger organizations like the UFC. With its headquarters in Houston, Texas, LFA has become a prominent name in the MMA scene.
One of LFA’s distinguishing features is its commitment to showcasing a wide range of weight classes and divisions, ensuring that fighters from various backgrounds have opportunities to compete and ascend the ranks. The promotion has garnered a reputation for promoting exciting and competitive fights, making it a favorite among MMA enthusiasts. With a strong emphasis on providing fighters with opportunities for growth and success, Legacy Fighting Alliance continues to be a driving force in the MMA world.
10. Cage Warriors
Cage Warriors is a highly respected mixed martial arts (MMA) organization based in the United Kingdom. Established in 2001, Cage Warriors has played a vital role in promoting MMA in Europe and beyond. The organization has earned a reputation for showcasing top-tier talent and delivering exhilarating fights.
Headquartered in London, England, Cage Warriors has served as a platform for numerous fighters to rise to international stardom. Many notable fighters, such as Conor McGregor and Michael Bisping, began their careers in Cage Warriors before transitioning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), one of the most prestigious MMA organizations.
Cage Warriors is well-regarded for its commitment to promoting fighters across various weight classes and putting on high-quality events. Their shows often feature a mix of striking, grappling, and submission techniques, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. With a strong track record and a dedication to the sport, Cage Warriors continues to be a cornerstone of the MMA community.
These organizations have collectively shaped MMA into the global phenomenon it is today, with each contributing unique moments and fighters to the sport’s rich tapestry. MMA fans owe much of their excitement and memorable experiences to these promotions, and their legacies continue to evolve with every epic matchup and unforgettable fight night.