7 Reasons Why MMA is Growing as a Sport Globally?

7 Reasons that Led to the Rising Popularity of MMA

Mixed martial arts, more popularly known as MMA, has been rapidly growing as a sport in recent years and has established itself as a mainstream sport on the global stage. It all originated when the UFC announced its deal with FOX Sports in 2011. This brought MMA right into the homes of millions of Americans right next to the NFL and MLB; the rest is history. MMA has risen to such popularity that its fights are drawing the most attention on online sports betting sites. With so much going on, the sport is simply getting bigger and bigger. 


What Has Made MMA One of the Biggest Sports Brands in the World?

If you are a fan of trash-talking, MMA is the perfect sport for you! Here, trash talking is almost a necessity and a source of a guilty pleasure for all MMA fans. Don’t you get pumped up for the fights watching the fighters rile each other? But, leave alone trash-talking, what else is the reason behind MMA’s rising popularity? 


Welcome the Biggest Names in the Sport

MMA definitely has some marketable stars. Unlike any team sport, MMA fights are focused on two athletes rather than two teams. These athletes, along with their personalities, take center stage in every single fight. 

The most famous among these athletes develop a cult status for themselves and build thousands of fans following them on social media. This fame can either be a blessing or a curse, but it ultimately leads to an increase in viewership in MMA.


Crossovers in Major Box Office Films

Do you know that several MMA fighters have made their way from the ring to the big screen successfully? Stars like Oleg Taktarov, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, and others have played significant roles in many feature films. Name any major studio like 20th Century Fox, Disney, or Lionsgate – they have all worked with former fighters.

Besides films, MMA fighters also make millions from endorsement deals. Did you know that Conor McGregor was the highest earner among athletes in 2020, leaving behind stars like LeBron James and Lionel Messi? 


MMA Invites Fighters from Several Disciplines

Fighters have the liberty to try and experiment with dozens of different fighting styles in MMA. The official website of UFC lists many fighting styles, including boxing, wrestling, karate, taekwondo, kickboxing, and others.

Each style has several variations, and MMA fighters don’t adhere to one style – the main reason behind the name ‘mixed martial arts.’ Top MMA fighters need to learn at least three different styles to utilize all three moves – strikes, submissions, and takedowns. All these combinations give rise to endless possibilities in MMA, which make it so interesting to watch.


MMA Promotes Cultural Diversity

With so many fighting styles, it’s obvious that MMA also naturally promotes cultural diversity. The sport has witnessed champions from different countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Russia, the USA, and other nations. Because of such ethnic and regional diversity, the sport has become both globally appealing and entertaining. 


Online Streaming Has Made It Easy

Besides these, MMA has also become very easily accessible. The UFC made a deal with The Walt Disney Company in January 2019 to start streaming their matches on ESPN+. Now you can easily stream the fights and all other MMA content by simply subscribing to the service. 


Many Gyms Offer MMA Training

With the escalating popularity of MMA, many gyms across the world are offering training in MMA. The UFC itself has opened 150 gym locations, and more than 500 locations are in-development worldwide. These officially sponsored gyms offer hands-on training in several martial arts categories over and above providing other fitness courses. 


The UFC Exposure

One can easily attribute the real reason behind MMA’s rise and popularity to the UFC. The UFC reorganized the sport by revamping the rules, removing the less palatable elements from the fights, and introducing the five-minute rounds system. Before the UFC era, MMA was considered ‘too violent and too brutal’ and even termed “human cockfighting” by John McCain, and was banned in many US states. The UFC brought a revolution, helped MMA overcome these obstacles, and established itself as a legitimate sport.



UFC and MMA have become more prominent thanks to all the endorsement deals and lucrative streaming sites. Mixed Martial Arts is now hailed as one of the biggest sports in the world because of its rising fame.


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