The Hierarchy of MMA - Revised and Expanded!

Recently WSOF match-maker Ali Abdel-Aziz threw down the gauntlet with Bellator in a proposed PPV event matching up stars from respective organizations. It certainly started a lot of debate concerning which promotion is number two behind the UFC and how close these trailing promotions are when it comes to roster talent.

I decided it was time to add some statistics to the debate so that we have some sort of factual information to gain insight into just how the top market share of fighters is divided up, rather than pure speculative opinion. We must all understand that most rankings are subjective anyway, so the weight of this information should be scrutinized and I accept that this is no way definitive.

I've limited this survey to the Top 50 in each weight class, using Fight Matrix's ranking system as my standard as their ranking system seems the most logical (rather than subjective) and ranks fighters up to the top 500 in many weight classes. I'd be happy to look into other systems if there are any serious inquiries.

Obviously, there should be more weight given to those in the top ten to fifteen fighters and there are far more fighters on these promotions' respective rosters outside of the Top 50, but I've based this purely on numbers in this range because, well the top 100 is just a lot of damn work. These numbers would probably change dramatically if I were to expand to the Top 100, but it gives a rough idea of how the core talent in each promotion weighs out. Although not shown, I've broken it down by each weight class if there's any interest in getting really technical. I could be persuaded to do something like this every month, expanding to top 100 or breaking it down by weight class, but that's up to the community's interest.

Promotion Total # of Top 100 Market Percentage Ranking
UFC 342 37.6% 1
Bellator 90 9.9% 2
WSOF 55 6.0% 3
Invicta 21 2.3% 4
DEEP 20 2.2% T-5
Shooto 20 2.2% T-5
M-1 18 1.98% 7
16 1.76% 8
KSW 15 1.65% T-9
Cage Warriors
15 1.65% T-9
14 1.54% 11
Battle of Moscow
12 1.32% 12
Jungle Fight
11 1.21% 13
Legacy FC 10 1.1% 14
XFC 9 0.99% T-15
KOTC 9 0.99% T-15
Outliers 193 21.2% ~

Please note that 'Outliers' contains fighters that are currently in regional promotions that have only one representative in the top 50 fighters, or fighters that are currently free agents.

As you can see, UFC has the lead by a mile and is now expanding even more so, at a rapid pace. They would probably have more of a lead in a Top 100 survey. Bellator and WSOF are much closer to each other than they are to the UFC. It should be noted that Pancrase, in a tie at 6th, has partnered with WSOF to co-promote on Japanese events that will occur in 2014. Invicta relies heavily on supporting women's divisions that are at this time fairly shallow. The surprise of this endeavor was DEEP coming in at number 5, I was not expecting that.

UPDATED as of 1/10/2014

So I went ahead and ran with the Top 100 and said screw's a Friday anyway. Let me just point out that the 'Outliers' is skewed a bit due to the fact that after expanding to the Top 100 in each weight class, so some promotions had more than one fighter ranked. But it didn't change the top of the rankings in any way.

Also note that I've expanded the promotions ranking list to 15. Many thanks to everyone that gave me their excellent advise in the comments, especially Josh Hall.

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