Way of Martial Arts (wayofmartialarts.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.
There are many MMA organizations in the world, and through history, there were even more of them, but not all have been successful. In this article, we will rank the top 10 best MMA organizations currently in the world.
Top 10 best MMA organizations (promotions) are Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), Fight Nights Global (FNG), ONE Championship, Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF), Invicta FC, Pancrase, M-1 Global, and Caged Steel.
Below we will show you the top 10 Best MMA organizations (promotions), how long have they operated, how many events are held, best fighters, and few other important pieces of information about them.
10. Caged Steel
Founded: 2011; 9 years ago
Headquarters: Doncaster, United Kingdom
Events held: 24
Best fighters: Jack Comby, Dan Tempest, Adam Bramhald
Caged Steel was founded in 2011 in Doncaster, United Kingdom. Till this day they have held 24 events.
They broadcast fights on their own Pay Par View platform all over the world.
Caged Steel features some of the best UK and Europes MMA fighters.
9. M-1 Global
Founded: 1997; 23 years ago
Headquarters: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Events held: 224
Best fighters: Paul Bradley, Phil De Fries, Carlos Eduardo, Alexander Emelianenko, Fedor Emelianenko, Ramazan Emeev
M-1 Global (Mixfight-1) or MMA-1 (Mixed martial arts-1) is an organization from Saint Petersburg, Russia. They organize between 15 -20 events every year.
They started with small tournaments in 1997, and for more than 20 years now they are organizing events and becoming one of the top international MMA promotions.
Some of the biggest stars that fought in M-1 Global organization where Fedor Emelianenko, Aleksander Emelianenko, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jeff Monson, Pedro Hizzo, Andrew Orlowski, Gegard Mousasi, Roman Zentsov, Kenny Garner, Martin Kampmann, Amar Suloev, Chalid Arrab, Zhambyl Tulepbergenov, Alexander Volkov, Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko, Andrew Bilyk, and many more.
They have partnered with UFC and now they serve as an organization where UFC scouts for great Russian fighters to bring into their organization, and they are involved in the promotion and organization of UFC matches in Russia.
Founded: 1993; 27 years ago
Headquarters: Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Events held: 314
Best fighters: Ken Shamrock, Masakatsu Funaki, Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock, Minoru Suzuki, Nathan Marquardt, Josh Barnett, Semmy Schilt
Pancrase Inc. is a mixed martial arts organization from Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, and was founded in 1993 by professional wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki.
The name originates from pankration, which was a fighting sport in Ancient Olympic Games. Founders based its organization and its rules on their style on professional wrestling. Champions of Pancrase are called “King of Pancrase”.
In 2008, new management was established, and they changed the name of the organization to “Pancrase Inc.“
In 2015, Pancrease Inc. made an exclusive and long term deal with UFC Fight Pass to live stream all their fights there, and Pancrase’s old fights are available as a library for video-on-demand.
Some of the best known fighters to fight in Pancrase are Ken Shamrock, Masakatsu Funaki, Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock, Minoru Suzuki, Nathan Marquardt, Josh Barnett, Semmy Schilt, and many more.
7. Invicta Fighting Championships
Founded: 2012; 8 years ago
Headquarters: United States
Events held: 42
Best fighters: Cristiane Justino, Tonya Evinger, Sarah Kaufman, Barb Honchak, Jennifer Maia, Michelle Waterson, Ayaka Hamasaki
Invicta Fighting Championships is the world largest all-women’s mixed martial arts promotion, founded in 2012 by Shannon Knapp, and based in the United States.
They have an agreement with UFC Fight Pass for streaming exclusively all Invicta FC events on their digital service, as well as its whole library of old fights available at Fight Pass. They also have strategic partnerships with Jewels (Japanese MMA organization), and Brazilian Combate to broadcast their events in South America.
The best known fighters in Invicta are Cristiane Justino, Tonya Evinger, Sarah Kaufman, Barb Honchak, Jennifer Maia, Michelle Waterson, Ayaka Hamasaki. With longest title reigns: Cristiane Justino in Featherweight (1351 days), and Barb Honchak in Flyweight (1266 days).
6. Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF)
Founded: 2015; 5 years ago
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
Events held: 24
Best fighters: Peter Aerts, Mirko Filipović, Fedor Emelianenko, Amir Aliakbari, Shane Carwin, Kazuyuki Fujita, Marie Gabert, RENA, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Osunaarashi, Shinya Aoki, Bob Sapp, Wanderlei Silva
Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF) is a Japanese mixed martial arts organization created in 2015 by the former Pride Fighting Championships and Dream Stage Entertainment president Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Rizin FF in North America and Europe streams exclusively on FITE TV.
RIZIN Fighting Federation was born out of PRIDE 🙂 (that was founded in 1997 and ended in 2007). PRIDE was an original rival to UFC, and during its prime years, it was the best fighting organization of its time. Many of the stars they made later become UFC champions and one of the biggest legends in MMA sport. When PRIDE fell, UFC bought it and took all their roosters into its organization.
After that, people from original PRIDE made an organization called DREAM, that they wanted to function in the same way PRIDE did. And while first, it all looked good, in 2012 they had to close it.
In 2015, Rizin Fighting Federation was born and for now its future looks bright.
The best known fighters in RIZIN are Peter Aerts, Mirko Filipović, Fedor Emelianenko, Amir Aliakbari, Shane Carwin, Kazuyuki Fujita, Marie Gabert, RENA, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Osunaarashi, Bob Sapp, Shinya Aoki, Wanderlei Silva, and many more.
5. ONE Championship
Founded: 2011; 9 years ago
Headquarters: Downtown Core, Singapore
Events held: 131
Best fighters: Shinya Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes, Ben Askren, Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Sage Northcutt, Aung La Nsang, Martin Nguyen, Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, Vitor Belfort
ONE Championship (formerly known as ONE Fighting Championship or ONE FC) is a Singapore-based mixed martial art (MMA), Muay Thai, and kickboxing organization.
It started in 2011 in Downtown Core, Singapore. They are very strong in the Asian market and believe they have surpassed the UFC in popularity there. It has to be said that One Championship holds at least one event in Azia a month, while UFC holds maybe one a year there.
The best known fighters in ONE Championship are Demetrious Johnson, Regian Eersel, Yodsanklai Fairtex, Eddie Alvarez, Nieky Holzken, Angela Lee, Aung La N Sang, Sage Northcutt, Martin Nguyen, Eduard Folayang, Giorgio Petrosyan, Roman Kryklia, Andrei Stoica, Tarik Khbabez, Kevin Belingon, Bibiano Fernandes, Roger Gracie, Brandon Vera, Shinya Aoki, Xiong Jingnan and Vitor Belfort.
4. Fight Nights Global (FNG)
Founded: 2010; 10 years ago
Headquarters: Moscow, Russia
Events held: 94
Best fighters: Fedor Emelianenko, Batu Khasikov, Vitaly Minakov, Rasul Mirzaev, Ali Bagautinov, Vladimir Mineev, Andrei Arlovski, Alexander Shlemenko, Shamil Zavurov, Murad Machaev, Gasan Umalatov, Antônio Silva, Viktor Pešta, Fábio Maldonado
Fight Nights Global is a Russian mixed martial arts promotion. It is one of the best MMA organizations in the world and has some of the best fighters in MMA sport. It is founded in 2010 in Moscow, Russia.
Some of the best known fighters in Fight Nights Global are Fedor Emelianenko, Batu Khasikov, Vitaly Minakov, Rasul Mirzaev, Ali Bagautinov, Vladimir Mineev, Andrei Arlovski, Alexander Shlemenko, Shamil Zavurov, Murad Machaev, Gasan Umalatov, Antônio Silva, Viktor Pešta, Fábio Maldonado, and many, many more.
3. Absolute Championship Akhmat
Founded: 2014; 6 years ago
Headquarters: Grozny, Chechnya, Russia
Events held: 113
Best fighters: Thiago Silva, Albert Tumenov, Brett Cooper, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Artem Levin
Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) is mixed martial arts, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu promotion and one of the biggest and best MMA organizations in Europe. They had events all over Europe.
They were founded in 2014 in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia, and they had over 110 events in those six years.
In 2018, Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) and the World Fighting Championship Akhmat (WFCA) were merged and now are forming one organization.
Some of the bestt known fighters in Absolute Championship Akhmat are Thiago Silva, Albert Tumenov, Brett Cooper, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Artem Levin, and many more.
2. Bellator MMA
Founded: 2008; 12 years ago
Headquarters: Hollywood, California, United States
Events held: 240
Best fighters: Michael Chandler, Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Paul Daley, Lyoto Machida, Patrício “Pitbull” Freire, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Michael “Venom” Page, Douglas Lima, Cris Cyborg
Bellator MMA (formally Bellator Fighting Championships) is a mixed martial arts organization founded in 2008 in Hollywood, California, United States.
Bellator is one of the largest MMA promotions in the world, and second-largest in the US, just after the biggest MMA organization UFC.
Some of the biggest names in MMA fighting history have been performing under Bellator, such as Michael Chandler, Ryan Bader, Gegard Mousasi, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Paul Daley, Lyoto Machida, Patrício “Pitbull” Freire, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Michael “Venom” Page, Douglas Lima, Cris Cyborg, and many, many more.
In 2011, Viacom became the biggest shareholder in the company, and from there all Bellator fights are moved to Spike (Paramount Network). In 2018, they made a deal with DAZN, and now are covering the US and other major markets that have sports streaming services. From 2019, they have made a deal with Sky Sports to broadcast fights in the UK. In 2020, Bellator made a deal with ESPN Brasil to broadcast fights in South America as well. Bellator is currently available for almost a billion people around the world, with broadcasts in more than 160 countries.
1. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
Founded: 1993; 27 years ago
Headquarters: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Events held: 516
Best fighters: Jon Jones, Randy Couture, Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, B.J. Penn, Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Frank Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a mixed martial arts organization founded in 1993 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. UFC is the biggest and the best MMA organization in the world at this moment.
UFC has events all over the world, in twelve weight divisions (eight men and four women). Until 2020, when this article is written, UFC has held over 500 events around the globe. Dana White is in charge of this organization since 2011, and under his charge, it has grown to be a multi-billion dollar company.
In 2011, Casinos executives Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, and their business partner Dana White, bought UFC for $2 million dollars, and at that time, everybody thought they were crazy. Through amazing advertisement, sponsorship, and Pay-Per-View, they built the kingdom we now know as UFC!
UFC 40 was the turning point for this organization, and it probably saved them from bankruptcy. Long time referee “Big” John McCarthy said that he thinks UFC 40 was the key to the success of this organization, you can see his statement below.
“When that show (UFC 40) happened, I honestly felt like it was going to make it. Throughout the years, things were happening, and everything always looked bleak. It always looked like, this is it, this is going to be the last time. This is going to be the last year. But, when I was standing in the Octagon at UFC 40, I remember standing there before the Ortiz/Shamrock fight and looking around. The energy of that fight, it was phenomenal, and it was the first time I honestly said, it’s going to make it.”– “Big” John McCarthy
In this time, the 2000’s, they brought some of the best MMA fighters in history, like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Rich Franklin, B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, Matt Serra, Ricco Rodriguez, Robbie Lawler, Frank Mir, Karo Parisyan, and Nick Diaz.
In 2006, UFC bought World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization and brought even more amazing fighters like Urijah Faber, Jamie Varner, Carlos Condit, Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Eddie Wineland, Miguel Angel Torres, Mike Thomas Brown, Leonard Garcia, Brian Bowles, Dominick Cruz, and José Aldo.
The same year, they acquired their rivals World Fighting Alliance (WFA), which gave them fighters like Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Martin Kampmann.
In 2007, they bought their biggest rival Pride Fighting Championships! That brought them some of the biggest MMA legends of all time (even thou mostly in their late years), like Antônio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, Maurício “Shogun” Rua, Dan Henderson, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, Wanderlei Silva, and many others.
Then there is women’s MMA part of UFC. In 2012, they signed their first female fighter, now a champion and an MMA legend Ronda Rousey. She also became the first female UFC champion. In 2013, they signed an additional 11 women fighters from Invicta Fighting Championships.
They also have global partnerships with many other MMA promotions, so they can get new great fighters from them, as well as organizations of their matches in other parts of the world.
It is hard to list all the best fighters in UFC through years, but here are some of them: Jon Jones, Randy Couture, Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, B.J. Penn, Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Frank Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Ronda Rousey, and many, many more.