The world of mixed martial arts is by far one of the most competitive. When dealing with a sport that involves trying to submit, knock-out, or simply beat up your opponent it adds a new dimension to the level of competitiveness that you can expect. This level of intensity isn’t limited to the competition between the athletes, it spreads into the business side of things as well.

With MMA being just over 20 years old, there have been a lot of promoters that have tried to get in while they still can and establish a dominant and strong hold in the market share. This week we are going to breakdown the top ten currently active mixed martial arts promotions.

#1 The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 

It’s no surprise that the UFC is ranked #1. The UFC is the organization that put MMA on the map in the UFC and also helped the Gracie family to establish their role within the community. Not only were they the first U.S. promotion, but they also competed with and defeated all of their competition. Look no further than the major acquisitions of Pride FC, WEC, and Strikeforce for proof of their dominance. Along the way they have acquired other organizations as well. Their business practices have caused some controversy, but it has allowed them to build a roster that truly includes the greatest fighters in the sport.

#2 Bellator MMA

In recent years, Bellator MMA has gone through some major changes, but it all seems to be for the better. First they sold to Viacom and then they pushed former owner and promoter Bjorn Rebney. Replacing Rebney with the former owner of Strikeforce in Scott Coker, the sky seems to be the limit in terms of the company’s growth. Fighters and managers were at one point skeptical of signing with the organization due to their business practices. Now with Coker at the helm, that seems to be a thing of the past. With recent acquisition of top talent and a new format in production they seem to be holding the number two spot with ease. With Viacom more confident in the product they are definitely an organization to keep an eye on as a serious contender for the number one spot in the future.

#3 World Series of Fighting (WSOF)

The World Series of Fighting is still a very young promotion, but they have done a lot in a short period of time. They have signed some big names such as Jon Fitch, Rousimar Palhares, and Jake Shields, but they have also developed some fighters as well. Marlon Moraes and Justin Gaethje come to mind immediately. Their deal with NBC Sports has made them a viable competitor in the market share. Their future is dependant upon their cash flow to sign more names and their ability to continue developing fighters.

#4 Invicta Fighting Championship 

The only major North American based all female promotion. The owner, Shannon Knapp, has been the key to their success as an organization. Without Invicta FC the future of Women’s mma doesn’t look very good and if it wasn’t for Invicta FC’s existence women female fighters would be fighting across a large number of smaller promotions which would make it difficult for them to get noticed. Invicta FC is the reason why the UFC now has a straw weight division. No longer distributing their shows through internet pay-per-view, they have partnered with UFC Fight Pass as a distribution method. This allows them to have better production, and it also signals that their relationship with the UFC is strong which should allow them to keep going into the future.

#5 One Fighting Championship

In the North American market they don’t do much, but they have captured the number one spot in Asia. No other organization in the Asian market is signing the types of names that they are or putting on the same level of events. The kingpin organization, the UFC, has had difficulty developing talent in the Asian market, and that is precisely what One FC is successfully doing. It’s difficult to see the organization doing anything except growing at this point with the lack of competition in Asia.

#6 Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA)

Priding themselves on being the number one developmental mma promotion, RFA has done some big things in its short life. With well-known manager Ed Soares running the show they have been able to acquire a television deal with AXS TV create champions that quickly find their way into larger organizations, primarily the UFC. Some of the fighters that they have helped develop include Tim Elliot, Sergio Pettis, and Zach Makovsky just to name a few. With Ed Soares’ connections within the MMA community and the fighters they have developed in the past few years they have a bright future if they continue to have the same success.

#7  Titan Fighting Championship 

Yet another organization with some names from the MMA business world. With Jeff Aronson as the CEO and Lex McMahon as COO they don’t have any shortage of connections to fighters or managers. So many organizations fail due to poor business practices and inability to sign the necessary talent. Those aren’t issues that Titan FC will have with their current leadership. They also have a TV deal with CBS Sports which helps them to reach a larger audience than a lesser known network or other forms of distribution.

#8 Legacy Fighting Championship 

The Texas-based promotion has made a name for itself by putting on some great events and obtaining a TV deal with AXS TV. Their roster has included fighters such as Daniel Pineda, Leonard Garcia, and Mike Bronzoulis. With their TV deal and the respect of the mixed martial arts community they provide opportunities for up and coming fighters as well as some bigger names in the sport. The key to their future success will be acquiring bigger names to headline their events and developing more talent.

#9 Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC)

Based out of New Jersey, the CFFC has been one of the best ways for an east coast fighter to get noticed by the larger promotions. The owner’s have recently brought in well-known MMA manager and coach, Mike Constantino to act as President of the organization. CFFC currently has a TV deal with Comcast Sports and SNY which reaches many major markets in the north east. Notable fighters such as Lyman Good, Jim Miller, John Howard, Charlie Brenneman, and Paul Felder. As recently as UFC 182, Paul Felder, a CFFC Alum made a big statement with a spinning back fist knock out of Danny Castillo. If they continue to foster this kind of development, the sky is the limit for their success.

#10 Tachi Palace Fights 

Not one of the most well-known organizations, but definitely one of the best. Located in Lemoore, CA at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino they have been putting on fights since 2009 and had some very big names compete within their organization along the way. Names like Michael McDonald, Chad Mendes, Joe Soto, Dustin Ortiz and Fransico Rivera are just some of the names that have fought out of the California-based promotion. For them to remain relevant moving forward they will have to develop fighters that go on to do bigger things again. In recent years the big names have moved on and haven’t really been replaced by anyone.

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.

  • José Youngs

    I would most certainly add Cage Warriors to this list.

    • Michael Davis

      Who would you vote off the island?

      • José Youngs

        I’d put Cage Warriors # 5 based on the MASSIVE amount of UFC fighters that have come from that organization. Then just move everyone down one slot. Outside of that, I agree with the rest of your list.

        • Michael Davis

          That’s fair.

  • Richard

    This guy should go back to insurance. Look at tachi palace fights last 21 shows and tell me one other promotion that has Sent more fighters to the UFC. Not to mention we built the 125 weight class in the United States. Smh

    • Paulo

      Before Tachi Palace it was WEC—that place has a history of building miniaturized superhuman fighters.

  • jordan

    Well how about king of the cage. it has been around just as long and longer than most of these and has pumped out and ran through just about every fighter that has become something today.

  • Rich

    I think the UK promotion BAMMA should be up there too. Guys like Tom Watson, Jimi Manuwa, just to name a few. Especially now with cage warriors being dead.

  • Ray Elbe

    ….No Ring of Combat? Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez, Matt Serra…are just 3 of the 40+ UFC fighters to have gotten their start in ROC….What about KSW? Author did a good job of writing an article to engage the audience—>which probably drove some views, continued exposure to MMA events and this list probably changes over time.

  • mmaohio33

    Bellator is not #2 they’re terrible and sign just about anyone who’s name might be recognizable. They go for name over quality

  • PlayStation4Life!

    Rizin is rising.