MMA: Mixed Martial Arts Organizations and Promotions

As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow in popularity, fight promotions are springing up all over the globe. There are so many, in fact, that it can often be hard  for fans to keep up with all the variety available to them. That’s where this handy list comes into play.

Below, we’ve listed as many MMA promotions as possible. All the major organizations are covered, from the UFC to K-1. Smaller promotions are also included, as well as a few that are no longer in operation.

We’d like our list to be as complete as possible. With this in mind, be sure and shoot us an email if you come across an MMA promotion which isn’t included.

List of MMA Organizations

Please note that if a particular promotion or organization doesn’t have a URL associated with it, then it’s possible that it’s now defunct. We updated this page on June 13, 2012 and removed all the dead URL’s.

The Art of War Fighting Championship

MMA organization based in Beijing, China. Their first event was held on November 6th, 2005. Broadcast on China’s CCTV-5.

Art of War Undisputed Arena Fighting Championship

MMA organization based in Dallas, Texas. Their first event was on March 12th, 2007. Fighters such as Jeff Monson and Pedro Rizzo have competed for the organization.

BodogFight

MMA organization founded by Calvin Ayre as part of the Bodog entertainment empire. They produce a reality show which airs on television, and pay-per-view events have featured such stars as Matt Lindland and Fedor Emelianenko.

Brass Knuckles Promotions

MMA promotion which arranges fights in the northwestern United States. Based in Medford, Oregon. http://www.brassnux.com/.

Cage Fighters

Promotes MMA events in southern England. Fights are released on DVD and broadcast on SKY television.

Cage Force

MMA promotion based in Japan. They were the first in Japan to use a cage instead of a more traditional ring. Founded in 2005, they were originally called Demolition of Octagon Gear.

Cage Fury Fighting Championships

Holding shows regularly in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area, the CFFC was founded by Felix and Amy Martinez. Their shows have featured such fighters as Dan Severn Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz.

Cage Rage Championships

MMA organization based in the UK. Their first show was on September 7th, 2002. Major events are shows on Sky Sports, and a weekday show airs on TWC Fight!. Sometimes also known as just Cage Rage. Owned by ProElite, the same company that owns King of the Cage, EliteXC and Icon Sport.

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship

A UK-based promotion, Cage Warriors was founded in 2002. They held Britain’s first cage fighting event and are a member of the World Wide Cage Network. http://www.cagewarriors.com/.

California Xtreme Fighting

Formed by Mike Rush and Val Leedy, this California-based promotion made its debut on April 29th, 2006. Fighters have included Don Rocco, Joe Boxer and Danny Suarez.

Combate Extremo

The first professional MMA organization based in Mexico. Founded in June of 2000. Originally known as Vale Tudo Mexico, they changed their name in 2003.

Dangerzone

MMA promotion which holds fights in Indiana and surrounding states. Fighters who have competed in the promotion include Sean Sherk, Dan Severn (who is also the head of the promotion) and Rich Clementi. http://www.the-dangerzone.com/.

DEEP

A Japanese MMA promotion known to feature lighter weight classes. Their inaugural event took place in 2001 and featured Paulo Filho and Royler Gracie. Known as a proving ground for fighters hoping to move on to compete in PRIDE or HERO’s. http://www.deep2001.com/.

Elite Fighting Championship

MMA promotion based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Known for their use of a traditional boxing ring, the EFC was created in 2005. http://www.elitefights.com/.

Elite Xtreme Combat

Also known as EliteXC, this L.A.-based organization was formed in early 2006. Fighters such as Renzo Gracie and Frank Shamrock have competed for the company. They are currently broadcast on the Showtime network.

Extreme Fighting Challenge

A MMA promotion which puts on shows in Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding area. Fighters who have competed in the promotion include Wes Sims and Phil Baroni. http://www.extremefightingchallenge.net/.

Fightclub Berlin

German MMA promotion which features both no holds barred and kickboxing events. Their first event was held in 2003.

Fight Festival

A Finnish MMA promotion. Fighters such as Sean Salmon have competed in their events. http://www.fightfestival.com/.

Fight Party

Promotes kickboxing and MMA in the state of Georgia. Fights are put on by promoter Brett Moses. http://www.thefightparty.com/.

Finnfight

An annual MMA event held in Turku, Finland. Unlike many other MMA events, Finnfight allows head butts plus knee and elbow strikes from any position.

Freestyle Fighting Championship

Created in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2002, the FCC is a ranked fighting organization in the same tradition as the UFC or PRIDE. Founded by Lee Coates and Rob Braniff.

Full Contact Fighting Federation

Based in Oregon, this MMA promotion was established in 2001 and has held hundreds of bouts. Considered an amateur event, future stars like Chris Leben, Nate Quarry and Ed Herman got their start here. http://www.thefcff.com/.

Gladiator Challenge

This California-based MMA promotion was started in 1999 by Terry Trebilcock and Tedd Williams. While originally a sister promotion to King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge has since went its own way. Athletes such as Dan Severn, Rashad Evans, Chris Leben and Mac Danzig have all competed for the promotion. http://www.gladiatorchallenge.com/.

Gladiators Fighting Series

A Wisconsin-based promotion which puts on both MMA and kickboxing events. Their first event was held on September 29th, 2001.

Gracie Fighting Championships

Based out of Columbus, Ohio, this MMA organization held their first event on March 3rd, 2006. Fighters such as Matt Lindland, Wes Sims and Fabio Leopoldo took part in the show.

Grapplers Quest

This American promotion puts on the world’s largest submission grappling competitions, with categories for men, women and children. The first competition was held on April 24th, 1997, and such notable names as Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Matt Serra and Kenny Florian have all competed in one or more tournaments. http://www.grapplers.com/.

HDNet Fights

A Dallas-based MMA promotion. Owned by billionaire and Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban. Fighters on their roster have included Drew Fickett, Hans Marrero and Pete Spratt. Fights are shown on HDNet. http://www.hdnetfights.com/.

ICON Sport

One of the oldest MMA promotions in the United States, ICON Sport was founded in 1995 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Originally known as SUPERBRAWL Icon Sport, fighters such as Matt Hughes, Vitor Belfort and Frank Shamrock all got their start with the promotion.

International Fight League

An American promotion which has the distinction of being the world’s first MMA fight league (members of a team compete and accumulate points for their team through winning). The league has been televised on Fox Sports Net and featured such coaches as Bas Rutten, Don Frye and Ken Shamrock.

International Fighting Championships

This California-based promotion was the first to create a cruiserweight division (206 to 230 pounds). Headquartered in Tuolumne City, California.

International Vale Tudo Championships

An MMA organization based in Brazil. The organization featured almost no rules, and bare knuckles were used instead of padded gloves. Broken bones were not at all uncommon. http://www.valetudo.com.br/ivcmenu.htm.

K-1

An organization that specializes in stand-up fighting, K-1 holds events around the globe. Acts as a showcase for the arts of boxing, kickboxing, savate, Muay Thai, karate, tae kwon do and sans shou.

King of the Cage

Known to host many of their events at Indian casinos, KOTC is a U.S.-based promotion which showcases both veterans and up-and-coming fighters. Founded in 1997 by Tedd Williams and Terry Trebilcock. Fighters such as Quinton Jackson, Keith Jardine and Diego Sanchez have all gained valuable experience in this organization. http://www.kingofthecage.com/.

Mixed Fighting Championship

Their first card was held on March 13th, 2004 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Since that time, the MFC has continued to put together major fight cards.

Mixed Martial Arts World Fighting Championship

Based in Tampa, Florida, this MMA promotion was founded in 2006. Fights are broadcast all over the world via online radio stations.

Mix-Fight Championship M-1

Commonly known as M-1, this Russian-based fighting promotion puts on shows throughout Europe. Fighters such as Gilbert Yvel and Fedor Emelianenko have competed on their cards. http://www.mixfight.ru/.

MKM Knockout Promotions

Formed in 2002 by Mehrdad Khan Moayedi, this Muay Thai promotion features all the Shin Do Kumate events held in Florida and throughout the United States.

Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling

Formed in 1993 by professional wrestlers, Pancrase initially had several rules which made it different than most MMA promotions (no closed fist strikes, holds must be broken if an opponent reaches the ropes). Since that time, it has made the transition to a more uniform set of rules. A champion of the promotion is referred to as a King of Pancrase. http://www.starzworld.com/.

PRIDE Fighting Championships

Based in Japan, this MMA promotion held their first event on October 11th, 1997. At one time, they were one of the most popular promotions in the world and broadcast their fights to over 40 countries. Fighters such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Fedor Emelianenko and Takanori Gomi competed in the organization. In March of 2007, PRIDE was purchased by the owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. http://www.pridefc.com/.

Rage in the Cage

MMA promotion based in Arizona. Operated by Roland Sarria. Have put on over 100 MMA shows. http://www.rageinthecage.com/.

Real Fighting Championships

Founded by Joe Valdez and Jason Freyre, the RFC had their first event on February 18th, 2005. Fights take place throughout the state of Florida with a focus on the lighter weight divisions. http://www.rfcmma.com/.

RINGS

Started as a Japanese wrestling organization which eventually began to focus on MMA. The promotion lasted from 1991 until 2002. Fedor Emelianenko started his career in this organization.

Rumble on the Rock

Started in 2002, this promotion is based in Hawaii and run by J.D. Penn, brother of mixed martial artist B.J. Penn. In October of 2006, the promotion joined the World Wide Cage Network.

SHOOTO

A combat sport promotion formed in 1985. While the style of fighting was derived from shoot wrestling, it is still considered to be a mixed martial art. In fact, their rules are very similar to those used by a number of MMA organizations. While still active as a combat sport, the SHOOTO organization ended its run as a single organization in 1996.

Smackgirl

A Japanese MMA promotion which focuses on female competitors. Striking to the head is not allowed, and there is a 30-second limit to ground fighting. The first event of the promotion was held on December 5th, 2000. http://www.smackgirl.com/.

Spirit Martial Challenge

MMA promotion based out of South Korea. They also feature a reality show which is aired on the Korean network XTM. Their promotion is divided up into a professional league, inter league and amateur league.

Strikeforce

Based in San Jose, California, Strikeforce is both an MMA and kickboxing promotion. On March of 2006, they held the first ever MMA event to be sanctioned in the state of California. Competitors have include Frank Shamrock, Daniel Puder, Renato Sobral and Cung Le. http://www.strikeforceusa.net/.

Titan Fighting Championship

This U.S.-based promotion holds fights primarily in Kansas City, Kansas. Joseph Kelly is the president and promoter of this organization which focuses on the lighter weight divisions.

TKO Major League MMA

The largest MMA promotion in Canada. They work closely with the UFC, and many of their fighters have competed there. Fights are broadcast on the Fight Network and RDS in Canada.

Total Combat

MMA promotion which debuted in November of 2003. Based in southern California, they feature fighters such as Wade Shipp, Dominic Cruz and Erik Apple. http://www.totalcombat.tv/.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Often referred to as the UFC, this U.S.-based promotion is the largest MMA organization in the world. It is based in Las Vegas and owned by Zuffa, LLC. Fights are shown on pay-per-view in over 35 countries, and other programming is available on Spike TV. While it started as a bare knuckle competition with few rules, the UFC has since become a highly-regulated organization which has entered the sports mainstream. http://www.ufc.com/.

Universal Combat Challenge

Started back in 1999, this was the first MMA promotion in Canada. It has since been purchased by TKO Major League MMA.

Universal Fighting Arts Organization

Also known as the UFO, it was a Japanese-based MMA promotion founded by Antonio Inoki, Naoya Ogawa and Satoru Sayama. Now out of business, the final UFO show was held in 2002.

Universal Reality Combat Championship

Also known as the URCC, it is the first MMA organization based in the Philippines. Their first event was held on November 23rd, 2002.

Warrior Fighting Challenge

Based in the state of Kentucky, this MMA promotion’s slogan is “Fighting solves everything.” Their first events took place in February of 2005. Features weight classes such as flyweight and super heavyweight, as well as a women’s division.

World Extreme Cagefighting

An American-based MMA organization, it is the sister promotion of the UFC. Started in 2001, the WEC focuses on lighter weight classes and originally held fights in a pentagonal cage. Events are currently held in Las Vegas and are broadcast on the Versus channel.

World Fighting Alliance

Also based in Las Vegas, this MMA promotion promised that it was “Where the fight club meets the night club.” Ring girls were scantily clad, and dancers would perform between matches. Entertainers like Ice-T were also contracted to perform. Its first event was held on November 3 rd, 2001. On December of 2006, Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, purchased the WFA and closed its doors for good.

World Fighting League

A MMA promotion based in Massachusetts, the WFA features seven different weight divisions. They also put on pure grappling events.

Worldwide Fighting Championship

The WFC is based in Phoenix, Arizona. They have featured fighters such as Butterbean, Dan Severn and Tommy Morrison. http://www.thewfc.com/.

ZST

Pronounced “Zest,” they are a Japanese-based MMA promotion. They started in 2002 and feature many unique rule differences. For example, a fighter cannot close the guard, there are no judges or decisions and music is played throughout the entire match. They have even held tag-team MMA matches. http://www.zst.jp/.

Please note–if you operate an MMA organization, and you’re interested in buying branded clothing, promotional clothing from Leighmans.com is one route that we can recommend wholeheartedly. Other options include CafePress, which can create unique t-shirts, coffee mugs, and every other kind of promotional product you can think of.

4 comments for “MMA: Mixed Martial Arts Organizations and Promotions

  1. Jimmy (aka Jim)
    July 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hi!

    I just found your list and I think it´s great, Bellator is a must though! ..one of the top organisations today outside zuffa owned part of the industry of course!

    I would gladely add anything I can find later on, but I also have a question? Would it be ok for you if I use this list myself?

    Best regards: Jim

    • admin
      July 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Sure, as long as you provide a link back, to give attribution for where you found the list.

  2. Chuks Romeo
    August 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I am a great fighter from Nigeria{West Africa} a guy with the heart of a warrior, a kick boxer, K1 fighter and also a good boxer. I ve made up my mind to come into the game of the cage(MMA though i ve started doing some ground work to balance what i ve gotten so far.
    The problem is that MMA is not well known in my country and this is a game i ve been dying to be part of. I write to know if there are ways i could showcase this God given talent in me.

  3. Johnny
    October 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Shoot me a copy of that list thanks and great work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *