MMA, or mixed martial arts, is a full-contact sport that often involves grappling and ground fighting.
With the prevalence of wrestling on TV, more fighting sports began to emerge on the scene.
MMA became an instant favorite among sports fans.
MMA is quite violent, so you may wonder why it’s so popular.
From appearing to be more real than wrestling to exciting tournament line-ups, here are a few reasons why MMA is so popular.
Why Is MMA So Popular? (10 Reasons)
1. Fights Seem Real
When comparing MMA to WWE, many fans of MMA will say that the fighting looks more real in MMA than in WWE.
Part of the reason is that WWE lives up to the “entertainment” part of its name.
It often focuses on charismatic athletes who gain a following.
They all tend to have a gimmick as well.
While the fighting, itself, can look brutal, and there is likely some improvisation involved, the result of the fight is usually set before it even begins.
WWE is about putting on a good show and entertaining the audience.
MMA, on the other hand, tends to be more about fighting than performance.
It lets the fighting take center stage.
Because of that, it appears a bit more authentic.
Even if the fight has a set winner, which it may or may not, the fight, itself, looks more realistic.
As such, a lot of people who enjoy authentic sports fighting tend to enjoy MMA.
They might find the overacting on WWE a bit out of taste.
They might not appreciate the style of fighting that the WWE offers either.
As such, MMA is popular among those who believe that it shows more realistic fights than the WWE.
2. Requires Fighting Techniques
An aspect that sets MMA apart from WWE, in particular, is that includes all kinds of different fighting styles.
In WWE, the focus is on wrestling.
Two big guys try to grapple each other to the ground.
Whoever pins the other person down the longest is the winner.
In MMA, it’s similar in that you’re trying to get the other fighter to surrender.
The way that you get to that point, however, is different than how it’s done in the WWE.
In MMA, fighters bring their particular skills to the fight.
As such, you might find someone who knows karate fighting against someone else who knows jiu-jitsu.
Wrestling and striking are certainly a part of the MMA, too, but its primary focus is on letting the fighters choose their own particular styles.
That ends up creating unique match-ups.
You can see how a wrestler performs against someone who knows jiu-jitsu, for example.
It strives to answer the question of if there’s one fighting style that is superior to all the others.
Since the fighters all tend to lean towards one school of martial arts, or a mix, the result is an interesting fight.
You have fighters taking advantage of certain situations and completely turning the match around.
It’s less predictable than the WWE.
As such, fans tend to enjoy watching MMA.
They never know what they’re going to see next.
It all brings in people who enjoy watching a particular style of fighting.
Someone who loves jiu-jitsu, for example, might enjoy watching MMA because it’s the only place where they can see it legally performed.
MMA is popular because it uses several different fighting styles which makes it more interesting to watch.
Like the WWE, MMA also has its share of celebrities.
While some fans come because they love a certain style of fighting, most come because they’re fans of a particular fighter.
In the MMA world, there have been a lot of big names.
Some of the biggest celebrities include:
- Valentina Shevchenko
- Antonio Nogueira
- Eddie Alvarez
- Israel Adesanya
- Chuck Liddell
- Amanda Nunes
- Jose Aldo
- Conor McGregor
- Demetrious Johnson
- Anderson Silva
- Georges St-Pierre
- Khabib Nurmagomedov
Besides being great in the cage, some of these have also become larger than life outside of the ring.
Perhaps one of the most famous MMA stars is Conor McGregor.
Even if you don’t watch MMA, you’ve likely heard of McGregor in the news.
He isn’t one to mince his words, and he has no problem starting fights with others fighters.
Fans gravitate toward McGregor and fighters like him because they enjoy their “bad boy” or “rough guy” attitude.
Anytime one of the famous fighters is in the cage, you can expect a lot of fans to show.
Not unlike how the WWE makes big stars of its wrestlers, the MMA also makes big stars of its fighters.
That makes the fights more entertaining to watch.
The MMA is popular because some of its fighters become celebrities.
4. Very Few Rules
One of the early reasons that drew a lot of fans to MMA when it first began was that it had very few rules.
You’d put two men in a cage, and they’d fight it out.
Whoever knocked the other person out or got them to surrender was the winner.
Time has changed some things.
Certain rules have made MMA a bit safer to play.
Some fans may have complaints about that, but because the MMA wants to make stars out of their fighters, they need them to get back into the fight.
If the injuries they receive are too severe, they can’t continue to fight.
That can ruin an entire line-up that the company had planned.
As such, there are a few more rules in play than there used to be.
That said, even those rules are quite limited.
At most, they keep fighters from severely injuring each other’s heads.
Fans love the MMA because, at the very least, it looks like it has few rules.
It’s not uncommon for two fighters to draw blood and keep on fighting.
That isn’t the case in WWE.
While there is sometimes blood, it’s also sometimes faked to give the performance a bit more drama.
When watching MMA, you’re seeing real blood.
The sheer savagery of it appeals to some people.
5. Diverse Fighters
Another reason the MMA is popular is that it features diverse fighters.
When you see a typical lineup in an MMA fight, you have names that come from across the whole world.
They might be Russian, Spanish, Irish, French, Mexican, English, or something entirely else.
There’s a lot of diversity among the fighters.
That isn’t the case for a lot of sports.
A lot of sports feature some white and black players and that’s about it.
They don’t have much of anyone else.
This makes MMA a bit more interesting because it appeals to broader audiences.
Someone who is from Mexico, for example, might not find anyone that they identify with in the NFL or NBA.
However, since it’s not uncommon to have a Spanish or Mexican fighter in the MMA, they can identify with them.
They become a fan of the sport because they’re able to root for someone who looks like them or shares their cultural history.
This ends up happening on a wide scale.
As such, you have a passionate following because there are so many diverse fighters.
It’s bringing together fans from across the world.
This makes it different than the WWE, too, which also tends to cater to only a few demographics.
MMA has a broader base of fighters which appeals to more people.
6. Fans Can Learn Fighting Styles
Another reason MMA is popular is that fans can learn the fighting styles, too.
They might watch their favorite fighter on TV using some unique blend of different fighting styles.
That might inspire them to learn the different fighting styles as well.
The great thing about most martial arts schools is that they teach you discipline and harmony.
While they do help you make your body become a weapon, it’s as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one.
Martial arts schools are popular because of the different lessons that they teach.
They’re also an ideal way to stay in shape.
With obesity bringing a whole slew of problems, learning how to fight in a particular style can help someone stay fit.
As a result, they remain healthier as they become older.
That can impact their lives positively.
Since they feel great, their appreciation for martial arts only grows.
They then appreciate that further by watching MMA.
Watching MMA can encourage both adults and children to learn a certain style of fighting.
Children, especially, will benefit the most since they have their whole lives to devote to the study of the particular martial art.
They can then even try their own hand at tournaments or just have a better appreciation and understanding of the fights going on in the cage.
MMA is popular because it’s a type of fighting that its fans can learn.
7. Lots Of Drama
There’s no question that a lot of drama occurs in MMA, too.
The drama is also a little different than the type of drama that happens in WWE.
In WWE, the drama is often staged.
Two big stars might suddenly come up with a rivalry.
It all leads to a big fight in the arena.
However, because it’s all about the performance, the drama can feel fake and staged.
That’s especially true if the two feuding wrestlers end up getting caught eating a burger together.
In MMA, the drama is a little different.
For one, a lot of it happens off-camera.
Fighters with egos get in the face of other fighters.
Some might do it to boost their own fame, but some of it is certainly because of ego, too.
The results of the drama usually happen in court or the cage.
The drama in MMA is a bit more enjoyable because fans don’t always know what’s going on completely.
Tabloids and reporters might be able to interview the fighters or the fighters might talk about it on social media, but it doesn’t usually occur on camera.
As such, it’s easier to believe that the drama is real.
If the drama is authentic, it’s also more exciting because you’re watching it build up slowly.
That creates a lot more tension and a lot more interest.
MMA is popular because it has its share of drama.
8. Special Moves
One of the unique aspects of MMA is that some fighters can utilize their fighting styles in special ways.
For example, it’s in MMA where you might see a fighter leap over someone or run along the wall to perform something awesome.
MMA showcases the best of the best when it comes to fighters and fighting schools.
Because they train hard, they’re able to pull off moves that you’d only ever see in the movies.
It can be very cool to watch.
Since MMA is the only place where you can see that sort of fighting and skill, it’s a popular sport to watch.
There’s no question that violence is another reason MMA is popular.
It comes back to the days of gladiators in ancient Rome.
Men were pitted against each other to fight, sometimes to the death.
Although death has long since left the fighting arena, there’s still a lot of violence.
Some people just like watching people fight.
It’s violence in a controlled setting.
That makes it safer to enjoy.
MMA is popular because it’s very violent.
10. Exciting Tournaments
A final reason MMA is popular is that it puts together unique and interesting tournaments.
The tournaments usually include celebrities and fan favorites.
However, there are also some wild cards in there that showed a great performance during earlier fights.
Because some of the fighters also have big personalities, it makes the tournaments particularly interesting to watch.
MMA is popular because it knows how to make exciting tournaments.
MMA is a type of fighting that includes the use of several different schools of fighting.
Its popularity has soared thanks to its authentic-appearing fights, diverse set of fighters, and action-packed fights.