MMA fighting

How Pop-MMA Changed The Fighting Business


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How pop-MMA appeared in Russia and spread around the world.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a multi-billion global sports industry. This is a competition where professional fighters from different styles and cultures (from kung fu to boxing and wrestling) distinguish which style is better.

A few years ago, a new phenomenon appeared in Russia, called pop-MMA. In 2019 and 2020, nearly a dozen leagues appeared on the scene and literally won the favor of millions of people who previously had nothing to do with sports or fighting.

Let’s see what Pop-MMA is and what does it have to do with real sport?

What is MMA pop?

To put it simply, these are fights between non-professional fighters. In addition, most of the participants had never had proper MMA or any other combat training. These are the people we meet on a daily basis – electricians, engineers, cooks, students, etc. People in common professions who want to test themselves inside a fighting ring or cage.

The league rules are close to classic MMA or boxing competitions with few differences.

For example, fights are sometimes organized between opponents of different weight categories, with different levels of training. In 2020, they even staged a fight between a 240kg blogger and a 62kg girl.

These fights are posted on YouTube and are usually followed by a series of press conferences with lots of trash talk, brawls, and workouts in their gyms.

After these shows garnered millions of views on YouTube, famous bloggers and amateur fighters joined the Pop-MMA community. Even the ones you never expect to see inside a ring – Hasbulla and Abdurozik, 18-year-olds with rare diseases that keep them from growing taller.

Their pre-fight conference has already received 12.1 million views in less than two weeks. By comparison, the most-watched press conference between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor has only 7 million views in three years.

Roots of Pop-MMA and Organizations

Pop-MMA can be compared to professional and Olympic sports like pop songs with classical orchestral music. They attract attention but the quality of both remains at different levels.

Pop music is loved and understood by the vast majority of people. In order to understand classical music (or boxing and MMA in our case), you need to know a bit about music.

‘Pop-MMA comes from the movie’ Fight Club ‘where ordinary people would fight after dark in semi-legal underground clubs. People feel close and see similar people like themselves scuffling and fighting inside the cage. And it’s easy to get there – you just need to fill out the papers, go through an online casting and you are there, ”said Arseny Milov, an amateur fighter of“ Our Cause ”(“ аше Дело ”), pop-MMA fight league.

As he mentioned, there are five major pop-MMA leagues in Russia – Punch Club, Hardcore Fighting, Top Dog, Our Cause and Strelka.

“People don’t make a lot of money in these leagues, but get media coverage and promotion from their Instagrams. The biggest stars get around $ 30,000 for a fight, but not many people get that money. Most of us get $ 500 to $ 3,000 for a fight, ”said the fighter.

As he mentions, fights in the leagues are their main source of income.

“People come there to get social media followers and to be IG, YouTube and TikTok stars. That’s all, Milov noted.

Former UFC and Boxing Stars in Pop-MMA

Nonetheless, there are some serious high-income shows and organizations in the pop-MMA industry.

For example, the American Bare Knuckle FC appeared in 2018 and already attracted former UFC fighters, both men and women. Like Artem Lobov, a Russian Irishman from Conor McGregor’s squad, Paige Vanzant, a sexy blonde fighter with 2.8 million followers on Instagram, and Rachel Ostovich, another UFC veteran with 756,000 followers on Instagram.

According to Lobov-in BKFC, he receives $ 150 to $ 200,000 (!) Per fight, which is way more than the UFC paid him.

The amount of money Paige Vanzant and Rachel Ostovich are set to earn from their next fight is set to be revealed ahead of their fight on July 23.

At their side a boxer â„–1 P4P for the last 25 years Floyd Money Mayweather. He fought YouTube star Logan Paul in an exhibition boxing match and expects to make $ 100 million from the show with his counterpart earning almost the same amount once the views per view are counted.

“Pop-MMA is one of the fastest growing sports industries today. A few years ago it was seen as a pro fight sim and has now grown into a multi-million dollar industry with the potential to reach business heights in the UFC, Showtime, and other professional sports companies. . We’ll see in five to ten years, ”said Arkady Meltzer, a manager of pop-MMA fighters.

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