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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Grade: B+

Easily the number two promotion in MMA, Scott Coker's second foray into the sport has evolved a long way from the Bjorn Rebney-helmed seasonal version, becoming a juggernaut in its own right with a variety of stars, both homegrown and from external promotions.

Former UFC fighters looking for a second wind in Bellator is nothing new - Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson for instance, but it did not truly hit fever pitch until 2015, when the UFC announced its Reebok deal. Disgruntled with the reduction in pay and homogenization of the presentation, the likes of Rory MacDonald and Benson Henderson decided to flee to Bellator, strengthening its divisions.

Today, elements of it can be seen in the roster of champions. Both women's titleholders were once in the UFC - Liz Carmouche and Cris Cyborg, and so was heavyweight king Ryan Bader.

But Bellator also does have a knack for developing its own stars, especially from the US wrestling scene. Aaron Pico, AJ McKee, and Sumiko Inaba - they all got their MMA start here, and they have found varying amounts of success.

What also sets the promotion apart from its main rival is the individuality that the fighters can have - most notably Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who has been known to come out onstage wearing leis. Not that UFC stars cannot also do this - Israel Adesanya, for instance.

There have been rumors of the PFL buying Bellator in the future, possibly after Bellator 300 - but until then, Scott Coker is still the second-best promoter in MMA.