The current state of European MMA and it’s top promotions


Across Europe, the sport is booming with major events being held frequently. Let’s take a look at the promotions making waves in the European MMA scene.

So far in 2018, the UFC has held three separate events across Europe with one more planned before year-end. The talent is clearly growing with fighters from all over Europe competing at the top of their divisions in the UFC. Away from the UFC other promotions are making their way across the European MMA scene, hosting events and signing fighters. Across the continent, the sport is booming with major events being held frequently. In this article, I’m going to take a look at the promotions outside the UFC making waves in Europe and their activity.


So let’s kick things off with Bellator, the promotion have a had a huge presence around the area recently. In terms of events, they have been pretty active. Since May they have held two events across the continent, one in the UK and one in Italy, both of which had title fights on the card. More are expected to happen before the year-end and with MVP vs. Paul Daley announced for the Bellator welterweight Grand Prix it is expected that the bout will headline a card in the UK.

Streaming across Europe has been the major issue for the promotion, in most countries fans only way of viewing was via tape delay. The newly signed agreement with DAZN may fix some of those issues in certain countries like Germany and Switzerland since the service exists in those countries. Scott Coker previously mentioned a deal will be struck sometime in Autumn to improve the visibility across the UK.

The talent pool is ever-expanding with Bellator following the success with both MMA and Kickboxing across different parts of Europe. They recently acquired the signatures of 22 athletes from across Europe which shows hope for the future. Some of the names included UFC veterans Norman Parke and Paul Redmond.

Cage Warriors

The UK-based promotion has been at the forefront of European MMA for a long time with fighters like Conor McGregor and Dan Hardy coming through their ranks. Despite its inactivity for a couple of years, Graham Boylan has done an incredible job at reviving the promotion. In recent times they put on some events away from their base country of the UK and put on some major shows in both Belgium and Sweden.

Cage Warriors joined Bellator in signing a wealth of talent, picking up 11 new names. There are currently 3 events officially scheduled for the remainder of 2018 but that is likely to increase. Their current focus is on their upcoming event which is expected to be a historical night in Liverpool. Two titles are on the line, with the bout between Paddy Pimblett and Soren Bak for the lightweight strap topping off the card.


The Polish-based promotion holds major events everywhere they go. They have a deep pool of talent from across Europe and add to it frequently. Their last event was in June when KSW 44 took place in Gdansk, Poland. Following the event, co-owner Martin Lewandowski announced they would leave Poland for the third time and host an event in London. Two title fights will top the card as well as the semi-finals of the 4 man middleweight tournament which will later decide the next  Middleweight champion of KSW.


Despite the rapid rise of the sport in Europe, not all have been successful in recent times. ACB is known for excellent events but have run into some difficulties recently. The promotion recently cancelled 4 events, the events were to be held in Cyprus, London, Kazan and Malmo. The event in Cyprus was cancelled the week of the event and the London card being cancelled put a  halt on Brad Pickett’s return from retirement. The promotion has cited financial issues being the reason for the cancellations, no events outside of Russia are expected in the near future. The next scheduled event will be in Krasnodar which boasts 3 title fights including Albert  Tumenov challenging for the welterweight strap in the main event.

Fight Nights Global

Question marks surrounded the promotion in recent times after their primary financial backer was arrested and charged with money embezzlement back in March. There’s been little news on the promotion since the arrest with many suspecting they might go under, however, they still continued to put on shows and recently announced their next event will go ahead in Moscow in October. Magomed Ismailov vs. Vladimir Mineev is set to headline the card. The promotion is meant to visit Dublin as well as exploring Brazil and the US but nothing has been said of it since the plans were made public. They have lost their Light Heavyweight champion Nikita Krylov too with the Ukrainian fighter re-signing with the UFC.

Out of the main Russian promotions, M-1 has remained consistent. The promotion rarely steps out of Russia and into the rest of Europe, only doing so a handful of times. The last time being in Finland a year ago. The promotion has made headlines after striking a partnership deal with the UFC. This gives a huge opportunity to both European and Russian fighters competing in M-1.  The deal will see M-1 champions get a guaranteed opportunity of joining the UFC if they wish, this is only an option as they don’t have to leave M-1 if they don’t want to.

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Brave CF

Despite not being based in Europe the Bahrain based promotion is building toward big things across Europe. They made their European debut in Belfast with Brave CF 13 and are expected announce more events across the continent soon. The promotion will hold a global expansion press conference soon with details of more events. Ibiza, Spain is heavily rumoured to be the next European destination for the promotion.


BAMMA have been tight-lipped about their plans recently, the UK-based promotion had a big 2017 but has lost some of its major stars to Bellator and the UFC. They have most recently struck a major TV deal locally in the UK. Their last event was an experiment that didn’t seem to pay off as the promotion gathered a lot of negative press as a result. On a more positive note, they signed some Irish fighters recently, this piggybacked on the 4 planned events in Dublin for 2018. To top things off Tom ‘Kong’ Watson joined the promotion once again after being inactive for quite some time. The  next planned event for BAMMA is in Dublin in December

Notable mentions:

Venator FC is on the rise in Italy once again, no future events scheduled as of yet though.

WFL return in the Netherlands soon with a two-day event of both MMA and Kickboxing, the MMA card will have an 8 man tournament.
CAGE MMA in Finland hold CAGE 44 in September with a card boasting some incredible Nordic talent