When it comes to professional MMA, no one can argue that the UFC is king. It has the best talent and the most notoriety. And while it may be the biggest right now, it is not the only one. Here are three other promotions that are nipping at the heels of the UFC.
1. World Series of Fighting
This is one of the newest Western promotions out there (founded in 2012), but is already getting some attention. They signed a deal with NBC Sports, which has had a past with MMA and was one of the networks that tried to go after the UFC deal. While their overall talent level is arguably the worst of the three, they have a ton of potential and a few of their fighters would do well in the UFC. It will be interesting to see how this promotion will do once they have a decent history behind them.
2. ONE Championship
ONE Championship is a fairly new promotion out of Asia, but is already hugely popular over there and many would argue is already more popular than the UFC in Asia. They have a huge viewership and a ton of sponsors, as well as putting on exciting fights with different rules than the UFC. Think of this as almost what Pride used to be. While the level of competition probably isn’t quite as high as the UFC, they do have some stars and I would argue their fights are far faster paced and exciting than the UFC’s.
3. Bellator MMA
Bellator is known by most as the clear number two in the Western market to the UFC. Their production is top flight and they have multiple fighters that could compete in the UFC. They are backed by Viacom and thus have a lot of money backing them. As a result, they have been able to snatch away some top talent from the UFC such as Phil Davis and Benson Henderson. I am personally excited to see if they could really be the one to take away the UFC’s apparent monopoly on top talent.