7. London, England
Do yourself a favor: go rewatch the Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal fight on ESPN+. If you want to see how great a London crowd can be, watch Till’s walkout and listen to how loud they get for him, how supportive they are, how they sing “Sweet Caroline” as he makes his way to the Octagon. And if you really want to feel their passion for their fighters, hear the reaction after Masvidal knocks Till out — as cliche as it is, it really is so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
But if you watch any MMA event in front of a London crowd, you feel their hearts invested in the fights, especially when they have a dog in the race. The chants and cheers for their hometown heroes are contagious. Be inactive as a fighter or rob them on a decision as an official, and you will feel their wrath. A fight card in London is always a fun experience.
The UFC’s first venture into the United Kingdom came in 2002 when London’s Royal Albert Hall hosted UFC 38. That card featured a welterweight title rematch between Matt Hughes and Carlos Newton, as well as Ian Freeman (the first British fighter in UFC history) pulling off a major first-round upset over Frank Mir. Five years later, London was the site of UFC 75, which featured the title unification fight between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dan Henderson. While there were no events in the city in 2011 and 2012, the UFC typically comes to London for a Fight Night card at least once a year now.
Bellator has also held four events in the city, including Bellator London/Bellator 223 earlier this month, which saw Rafael Lovato Jr. upset Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight championship, and Bellator 200 last year, which saw Mousasi’s title reign begin when he finished Rafael Carvalho.