Ranking the MMA promoters
MMA has the spotlight, and it's evident. Not only is UFC on ESPN, they are still the 'major league' of combat sports. However, organizations like the Pro Fighters League, Bellator, ONE, and Rizin are all reaping the benefits. With so many promotions, The Scrap put together a list of the best MMA promoters in the world. Swipe right to check out our top four promoters in the fight game.
Honorable Mentions: Lou Neglia (Ring of Combat) and Vadim Finkelchtein (M1 Global)
#4. Nobuyuki Sakakibara (Rizin FF, formally Pride FC)
A book could and should be written about the formation of Pride Fighting Championships. The story involves huge amounts of money, Yakuza, mysterious deaths, and more. But amongst the rubble that was once the greatest fighting promotion in the world, Nobuyuki Sakakibara emerged with a fine suit on, and a mean hankering for some “Pride-style” fights… so Rizin FF was born. Calling it a modern day Pride is both right and wrong, while its in the same vein, it is certainly not on the same level that Pride was. But considering that it is essentially a regional promotion that draws global attention, it's probably safe to say that Japanese MMA will always have a place on the global scene as long as Sakakibara is involved.
#3. Chatri Sityodtong (ONE Championship)
Chatri Sityodtong just might be the most interesting man in MMA. He was homeless as a child before discovering Muay Thai, from where he eventually made his way to Harvard where he eventually earned his MBA. He worked for several different businesses in several different industries before eventually retiring from Wall Street and setting his eyes on MMA. Since its formation in 2011, ONE Championship has quickly developed into one of the world's premier Mixed Martial Arts organizations. They put-on world-class fights including fighters from all corners of the world, and they have also shown that they have the financial stability to sign fighters away from the UFC. One Championship has a ways to go before reaching the top, but with Sityodtong at the helm, you can rest assured that the company is in good hands.
#2. Scott Coker (Bellator, formally Strikeforce)
Scott Coker is not number 2 on this list because he’s run the most successful promotions. In fact, Strikeforce, which he founded in the ’80s, sold to the UFC in 2011. But what makes Coker notable is he has twice managed to turn promotions into legitimate UFC alternatives. Strikeforce signed several notable UFC fighters away from the roster and managed to put on several cards that rivaled anything the UFC did at the time. While things ultimately failed, Coker’s reputation was such that he was given the same role in Bellator. While Bellator has been a player for a long time, things have certainly picked up since Coker took over in 2014. Bellator has signed several notable fighters, and with the backing of Viacom, they appear to be set for success.
#1. Dana White (UFC)
I’ll wait a moment for some of you to roll your eyes… Say what you will about Dana White, but he has done a fantastic job of promoting the sport of mixed martial arts. His influence on the sport cannot be measured, and while he obviously had help, you could argue that the other promoters on this list would not be in a position today to promote such a popular sport if not for White. In 2001, Dana White took over as UFC President and since then, he has promoted several of the biggest fights in the history of MMA and played a part in promoting a massively profitable boxing match as well. We’ve seen the company go from relative obscurity, into a recognizable sport, and he likely still has many years left ahead of him. For all the things Dana White hasn’t done, and still needs to do, there are things he has done that have been massively influential on the sport.