Mixed martial arts has become one of the most popular sports on the planet over the past decade. Thanks in part to more and more events hitting the mainstream, massive personalities, and even bigger fight purses.

But what else has added to its popularity? Go on any online sportsbook, and you can bet on almost every fight happening across the globe; there are bigger sports that don’t get that much coverage. Here is why MMA is so popular nowadays. 

The Characters

It is no secret that the personality of athletes within a sport helps increase the popularity of that sport. Within MMA, you had the calm yet deadly Khabib, the loud and Brash Conor McGregor, and now the “lad about town” Paddy Pimblett

While there have been dozens more that have stood out from the crowd, these fighters are personable, fun to watch and listen to, and not only have the ability to talk the talk but have also proven they can walk the walk. 

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MMA is far more than just the UFC. There are now dozens of promotions, big and small, around the world that are helping fighters get their names out there. Bellator, One Championship, the UFC, Rizin, and many others all hold regular pay-per-views and televised events. 

The wide range of events means that you can watch a live fight or two outside of the biggest promotions at any time. 


MMA doesn’t discriminate based on your race, gender, religion, cultural background, age, or sexual orientation. This diversity is apparent whenever you watch an event when you see fighters across all spectrums competing. 

Besides football, there aren’t many other sports that have such a wide range of participants as MMA does. 

Multiple Disciplines

One of the most significant differences in MMA compared to other sports is the variety of styles and disciplines athletes use. Your style and abilities can’t be too out-of-the-box in most other sports, as there is usually a right and wrong way to play.  

This isn’t the case in MMA; an Olympic wrestler can fight a world champion kickboxer, and the competition will be pretty even as they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This aspect plays into the diversity of the sport as well. 

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MMA Accessibility 

MMA gyms and training have also become more common outside of professional fighting now. Many regular gyms now offer some form of MMA training, or at the very least an MMA-based workout. 

This means that people not only get to watch a ton of MMA almost whenever they feel like it, but they can also train like the fighters or learn the sport themselves. 

Easy to Watch

As mentioned, there are so many promotions broadcasting events every week, and unlike most other sports, MMA is very easy to find and watch. Brands stream their shows on their websites or YouTube, pay-per-views are affordable, and some have subscription services, so you never miss a single fight. 

Many brands also utilize their social media platforms to full effect, allowing their followers to watch fight highlights all the time and not letting any excellent moments slip past. 


People love watching MMA because 99% of fights are fast-paced from the first to the last bell. The short rounds and explosive nature of the sport mean you are on the edge of your seat the entire time, waiting for a fight-ending knockout or submission. 

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In addition to being high-paced, MMA is easily one of the most unpredictable sports on the planet. There have been numerous occasions where the favorite has been dropped in the first round, or a split decision goes to the underdog. 

No matter how good a fighter is, there is always a chance that the challenger will land a perfect right hook and end the fight. There are also fight-ending accidents that leave people stunned; take Conor McGregor’s injury against Dustin Poirier, for example. 

The Ultimate Fighter  

Finally, the UFC has a reality show that has helped numerous fighters start their careers in the MMA world. Young fighters are split into teams and coached by pros, with the fighters taking part in matches to prove their abilities. 

Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Michael Chiesa, Nate Diaz, Kamaru Usman, Julianna Pena, and many others became household names and world champions