Grading the 5 major MMA promotions

There are five major promotions in the world, but who is the best of them?
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre
UFC 217: Bisping v St-Pierre / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
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Mixed martial arts is quite possibly the most popular combat sport in the world, with more than a hundred countries having at least one representative who competes in any of the thousands of promotions around the world. But for the casuals, only five names matter: Rizin Fighting Federation, ONE Championship, the Professional Fighters League (PFL), Bellator, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). And each one has a strong claim to be among the biggest MMA promotions.

Each has a claim to be among the top promotions in the world. Obviously, there is the juggernaut that is the UFC, with its ability to sell fighters and their fights like perpetual winners. Longtime runner-up Bellator became a popular refuge for UFC veterans disgruntled with the mid-2010s homogenization of their promotion, but even amid the influx of outsiders it still maintains an ability to create its own stars from within.

Outside those two, there are the PFL, whose tournament format and million-dollar payday provide a very appealing scenario for those looking for a hugh breakthrough, while ONE prides itself in being able to cater to all sorts of combat sports fans, not just MMA fans. And for those who want to reexperience Pride again, there is Rizin - Lenne Hardt, old-school ring, and a hint of domestic flavor.

But which one of them deserves to wear the crown of "best MMA promotion"? Here is how the big five stack up against each other.