[2023] MMA Federations: A Comprehensive Guide to Mixed Martial Arts Organizations

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Mixed martial arts (MMA) has gained immense popularity over the years, and with that, the number of MMA federations has also grown. In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at various MMA federations, their roles, and what sets them apart. Whether you're a fan, a fighter, or just curious about the world of MMA, this article will provide you with all the information you need. So, let's dive in!

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

MMA federations are organizations that promote and regulate mixed martial arts events. They provide a platform for fighters to showcase their skills and compete against each other. The top MMA federations include the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, Professional Fighters League (PFL), One Championship, and Cage Warriors.

Quick Tips and Facts

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  • MMA federations organize and promote MMA events.
  • The UFC is the largest and most well-known MMA federation.
  • Different federations have different rules and weight classes.
  • Fighters often sign exclusive contracts with specific federations.
  • MMA federations have rankings and championship titles.


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MMA has evolved from a niche sport to a global phenomenon, thanks in large part to the efforts of MMA federations. These organizations play a crucial role in promoting and regulating the sport, ensuring fair competition and providing a platform for fighters to showcase their skills.

The Top MMA Federations

Let's take a closer look at the top MMA federations and what sets them apart.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest and most well-known MMA federation in the world. It was founded in 1993 and has since become the premier organization for MMA. The UFC hosts events globally, featuring top fighters from around the world. With its high production value and star-studded roster, the UFC has played a significant role in popularizing MMA.

Key Points:

  • The UFC follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
  • It has multiple weight classes, including heavyweight, lightweight, and featherweight.
  • The UFC has a ranking system and awards championship titles.
  • The organization has a massive fan base and attracts top talent from various combat sports backgrounds.

Bellator MMA

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Bellator MMA is another prominent MMA federation known for its exciting fights and talented roster of fighters. Founded in 2008, Bellator has gained a dedicated following and has produced numerous memorable moments in MMA history. The organization focuses on a tournament-based format, where fighters compete to earn a shot at the championship.

Key Points:

  • Bellator MMA has its own set of rules, slightly different from the UFC.
  • The organization has various weight classes, including middleweight, welterweight, and bantamweight.
  • Bellator MMA holds tournaments in different weight classes to determine the next title contenders.
  • The organization has a partnership with ViacomCBS, which allows for extensive television coverage.

Professional Fighters League (PFL)

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The Professional Fighters League (PFL) is a unique MMA federation that follows a seasonal format. Fighters compete in a regular season, accumulating points based on their performance, and the top fighters in each weight class advance to the playoffs. The PFL offers a substantial prize pool, providing fighters with a significant financial incentive.

Key Points:

  • The PFL has its own set of rules and weight classes.
  • The organization's seasonal format sets it apart from other MMA federations.
  • Fighters in the PFL have the opportunity to earn substantial prize money.
  • The PFL has partnerships with ESPN and other major broadcasters.

One Championship

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One Championship is a Singapore-based MMA federation that primarily focuses on the Asian market. It showcases a mix of MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and other martial arts disciplines. One Championship has gained a considerable following in Asia and has signed top fighters from around the world.

Key Points:

  • One Championship has its own set of rules and weight classes.
  • The organization places a strong emphasis on respect, honor, and integrity.
  • One Championship hosts events in various countries across Asia.
  • The organization has a partnership with Turner Sports for broadcasting its events.

Cage Warriors

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Cage Warriors is a European-based MMA federation that has been a breeding ground for future UFC stars. Many notable fighters, such as Conor McGregor and Michael Bisping, have competed in Cage Warriors before making their way to the UFC. The organization showcases some of the best up-and-coming talent in European MMA.

Key Points:

  • Cage Warriors follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
  • The organization features various weight classes and holds championship bouts.
  • Cage Warriors has a reputation for producing high-quality events and talented fighters.
  • The organization has a partnership with UFC Fight Pass for streaming its events.

Other Notable MMA Federations

While the previously mentioned federations are the most well-known, there are several other notable MMA organizations worth mentioning. These include:

  • Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA): A feeder league for the UFC, showcasing rising talent.
  • Rizin Fighting Federation: A Japanese MMA organization known for its unique events and rule sets.
  • Combate Global: A promotion that focuses on Latin American fighters and showcases Hispanic culture.
  • Invicta FC: An all-female MMA organization that provides a platform for women in the sport.

Each of these organizations has its own unique characteristics, rules, and fighters, contributing to the diversity and growth of MMA.


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What MMA Organizations are there?

There are numerous MMA organizations around the world. Some of the most well-known ones include the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator MMA, Professional Fighters League (PFL), One Championship, and Cage Warriors. However, there are many other regional and international organizations that play a significant role in the MMA landscape.

Is PFL owned by UFC?

No, the Professional Fighters League (PFL) is not owned by the UFC. While both organizations operate in the MMA space, they are separate entities with their own ownership and management structures. The UFC is owned by Endeavor Group Holdings, while the PFL is owned by a group of investors led by Donn Davis.

What levels of MMA are there?

MMA has various levels, ranging from amateur to professional. The levels typically include:

  • Amateur: Fighters who are starting their MMA journey and competing at a local or regional level.
  • Semi-Professional: Fighters who have gained some experience and may receive small financial compensation for their fights.
  • Professional: Fighters who compete at a high level and earn a living through MMA.

How many states banned MMA?

As of [2023], MMA is legal and regulated in all 50 states of the United States. However, it wasn't always the case. In the past, several states had banned or imposed restrictions on MMA due to concerns about fighter safety and the perceived violent nature of the sport. But with the establishment of unified rules and increased safety measures, MMA has gained acceptance and popularity across the country.


MMA federations play a vital role in the growth and development of mixed martial arts. Organizations like the UFC, Bellator MMA, PFL, One Championship, and Cage Warriors provide a platform for fighters to showcase their skills and entertain fans worldwide. Whether you're a fan or an aspiring fighter, keeping up with the various MMA federations can enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the sport.

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