The sport of MMA has blown up in recent years, mainly due to the great showcases and characters that have captivated the public eye. Come on, who doesn't like a good fight? It's ingrained in our DNA, and there is nothing better than watching a truly unpredictable sport.
While the UFC is by far the biggest promotion in the world right now, there are fights on pretty much every weekend. So if it's more superman punches and flying knees that you crave, then you've come to the right place, as I will be sharing with you the other great MMA organisations that you definitely should be watching!
In my opinion and widely the general consensus, Bellator is regarded as the number two MMA organisation on the planet. It has created its own stars which I believe is vital to furthering the growth of a sport as there must be entertainment, both in and out of the ring. Bellator has also picked up a deal with Spike TV which has in turn greatly helped in gathering a wider audience. To demonstrate this strong audience and love for the stars, just look at how the favourites are tailored for the main events!
Notable fighters on their roster include the late Kimbo Slice and Rampage Jackson, and if anything this video proves how great Rampage is. However, I cannot expect anyone to just take my word for it about how Bellator is great, so here is a highlight reel from the best of Bellator's performances of the last year.
2. Invicta FC
Invicta, meaning "invincible and incomparable" in Latin is the the top North American all female promotion! Many of the best fighters from this promotion usually end up in the UFC, a recent example being Cris Cyborg as she came out for UFC 199 and absolutely dominated her opponent. That is the calibre of fighter that Invicta brings to the table ladies and gentlemen.
This organisation is a huge launch pad for women to break out into MMA, and It's brilliant that Invicta has become the huge success that it has.
3. ONE Championship
ONE Fighting Championship is a Singapore-based promotion, and the biggest in Asia with a global broadcast to over one billion homes in 75 countries! Woah, those are some big numbers right there.
Their line ups include popular fighters such as Shinya Aoki, Bibiano Fernandes and Ben Askren. Also, their main events have amazing names. Forget about boring titles such the mere 'UFC 200', ONE has such glorious naming such as War of Dragons, Era of Champions, Rise of Heroes and Roar of the Tigers! I think Dana White and his chums need to step up their game...
I recommend this promotion as MMA is sharply on the rise and as ONE has dominion over a whole continent so expect to be seeing much more of it. Chatri Sityodtong, the organisation's founder and chairman, even predicts great future success:
Based on my 10 years of experience on Wall Street, I believe that ONE Championship is on track to cross the US$1 billion valuation mark in the next 12-18 months. We are growing at triple digit growth rates and the market opportunity is massive in Asia.
Looks like ONE is certainly something that we may see come across to the west in a few years time. The main thing that will probably throw UFC fans right off is that ONE Championship uses a circular cage instead of the eight sided arena we have all come to know and love.
This promotion is based in the United Kingdom and is considered the biggest MMA extravaganza in the whole of Europe. BAMMA has a good holding in television as the events are now shown live on Spike (UK) Channel 5 in the UK and Ireland, ESPN 3 in the US, The Fight Network in Canada and all across the world from Latin America to Asia.
This promotion is full of talent, the one of most note being frenchman Tom Duquesnoy as he currently holds both the world BAMMA featherweight and bantamweight belts simultaneously! I think this guy needs to give Conor McGregor some lessons in title domination, eh?
If you have not seen any BAMMA fights, check out some highlights from Marc Diakiese below:
5. M-1 Global
M-1 hails from Russia so you can only imagine the amount of nutters that could rip your head off that reside in this promotion. It is partly owned by Fedor Emelianenko, the former heavyweight Pride FC champion. Check this quick video out to see what tat guy was all about:
Fedor just survived a brutal neck snap! That's the man that is an owner of this organisation. M-1 brings a lot of Russian talent into its fold and it can be said that it really only exists as a feeder organisation to bigger promotions. However, M-1 Global organises between 100 and 200 competitions per year and that is pretty impressive.
Here are some other big MMA organisations that I thought people would be interested in taking a little look into! The UFC may be the biggest fish in the pond right now, but there are plenty more fights, knockouts and talent out there that can keep fans of the sport screaming that their screens.