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The British Invasion of MMA

Since the nativity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship on November 12th, 1993, there have been 470 events in 26 diverse countries around the globe. Apart from the United States of America (The birthplace of UFC 1), nations like Brazil and Japan are identified as the legendary foundation that has contributed to the initial jaw-dropping moments that generated MMA fans across Earth. Fighters like Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, and Kazushi Sakuraba produced fighting performances that astounded the intelligence of fight fans who weren’t yet ready to rationally interpret what was transpiring in front of their eyes. While those places have presented so many crucial moments and fighters in the antecedent stages of MMA, the UK scene is on the rise and eager to generate moments of its own.



A post shared by ufc (@ufc) on Feb 2, 2019 at 1:49pm PST

Out of the 470 events that the UFC has produced, 34 of them have been in Brazil, 28 in Canada, and 23 in the UK individually with 19 being in England. Currently, there are 14 British fighters on the UFC roster with standout names such as Darren Till, Jimi Manuwa, Tom Breeze, and Arnold Allen. In other words, the British are coming. Although they may be 244 years late, there is no time like the present to attempt a British takeover in MMA.



A post shared by Till (@darrentill2) on Mar 14, 2019 at 4:50am PDT

Michael Bisping inspired countless growing fighters with a combat style that earned him the characteristic of a hard-nosed vet in the octagon. Part of that is due to the reality that Bisping was undefeated in his UFC career while fighting in the UK and secured the UFC Middleweight Championship before his recent retirement in 2018. The trickle-down effect of Bisping’s career isn’t only found in the UFC. Exceptional recruits are found commonly in UK based companies such as Cage Warriors, BAMMA, and UCMMA and eventually make their way into prominent organizations like Bellator and the UFC. As the notable force of MMA in the world, there could very well be a time when fighters such as Michael Venom Page, Aaron Chalmers, Paddy Pimblett and more all test themselves in the UFC with elite opponents.



A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on Oct 31, 2017 at 11:08am PDT

The English up-and-coming players of MMA could commence the rise to the top of promotional events second to the United States. The BT Sport TV deal that allows the UFC to be broadcasted all across UK televisions is also a massive aid in boosting awareness of the sport. In addition to those enormous factors, England is also home to the O2 Area which is perceived as one of the world’s most popular music, sport, and comedy arenas. Since the British are so loyal to their fighters, a popular contender like Michael Venom Page, with the help of the promotion of the UFC could nearly sell out the O2 arena with a capacity of 20,000.



A post shared by Michael Page (@michaelvenompage) on Dec 1, 2018 at 6:57am PST

This Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 5, Darren Till will headline at the world famous O2 area. The attendance figures, gate, and financial success of the event is yet to be determined but one could assume with the power of UK MMA that the crowd will be rocking and the fighters will bring it. Molly McCann and Marc Diakiese will be looking to get redemption after their unfortunate results in Liverpool and Hamburg sequentially. Thriving prospects Nathaniel Wood, Arnold Allen, Danny Roberts, and Tom Breeze look to continue climbing the ranks while stringing together more wins. Darren Till will look to prove his worth of promotional invested UFC dollars while Mike Grundy will try to prove he belongs in the UFC.



A post shared by Till (@darrentill2) on Mar 15, 2019 at 3:16am PDT

However fans spin it, the amount of talent on both small and large MMA promotions can’t be denied. The growth is at a rapid rate and will only grow as more standout names inevitably join the UFC. A long lineage of combat sports can be traced through the UK with the history of British boxing. While boxing still has stars like Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, British MMA is building stars of its own. At this growing pace, don’t be surprised if England overtakes Brazil and Canada as the UFC’s 2nd largest market.

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