The Encyclopedia
of Differences

Difference Between the UFC and Bellator

Table of Contents

The UFC and Bellator are two MMA competitions that are gaining in popularity. However, many people need to be aware of the differences between these two organizations and how they affect the sport. One of the most significant differences between the UFC and Bellator is that the UFC is the largest and most prominent mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world, and Bellator is a smaller MMA promotion. 

What is UFC?

UFC, also known as Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a mixed martial arts organization founded in 1993. It is the world's leading mixed martial arts promotion and the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. UFC is known for its entertaining and competitive bouts, featuring some of the world's most talented mixed martial artists. The organization has a strict code of conduct for its fighters, and its attacks are overseen by a team of highly trained referees and judges.

ufc belt

UFC's events are broadcast in over 150 countries, and its pay-per-view sales have broken records. It is known as one of the most successful organizations in combat sports. UFC has provided an exciting platform for its athletes to showcase their skills and has grown to become one of the most popular sports in the world.

What is Bellator?

Bellator is a premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the United States. Founded in 2008, Bellator has grown to become the second-largest MMA promotion in the world. Bellator hosts professional MMA fights and amateur and Bellator Kickboxing events.

bellator belt

Their events are broadcast on Paramount Network and DAZN, and have been featured in over 140 countries worldwide. Bellator is known for hosting MMA fights featuring up-and-coming talent and established fighters who may not be as well known as those in the UFC. Bellator's roster includes popular fighters such as Patricio "Pitbull" Freire, Ryan Bader, and Rory MacDonald.

Difference between UFC and Bellator

League Ownership

UFC is owned by Endeavor Sports, a branch of Endeavor Group Holdings. On the other hand, Bellator is owned by ViacomCBS, a media conglomerate.

Endeavor has more resources and can promote UFC more heavily than ViacomCBS, which limits the success of Bellator, as Michael Chandler says in this video:

UFC generally attracts the top fighters, whereas Bellator has less control over who is fighting for the league.

Number of Fighters

UFC events are typically composed of 12 to 16 fights, while Bellator events are traditionally smaller, with only 8 to 10 fights on each card. UFC cards also tend to feature more well-known fighters, as the top tier of MMA talent typically signs with the UFC. Bellator cards, on the other hand, are often made up of lesser-known fighters, which makes for a more unpredictable viewing experience.

Number of Events

The UFC typically hosts anywhere from 10 to 20 events each year, while Bellator usually hosts around 15 events yearly. It means that UFC fighters have the potential to fight more often, while Bellator fighters have to wait longer between fights. Additionally, UFC events are generally larger and more widely available due to their higher budget and promotional activities, while Bellator events are typically more local and have a smaller audience.

Weight Classes

The UFC has nine weight classes ranging from strawweight to heavyweight. Bellator, on the other hand, has seven male weight classes (from Bantamweights to Heavyweight). So if a fighter is looking for a specific weight class, the UFC offers more options. This can be important for fighters who may have difficulty cutting weight or have a height or weight advantage over their opponents.

Rules and Regulations

What makes UFC and Bellator different is the number of rules they have and the severity of the punishments they enforce. For instance, UFC has a greater range of fouls and stricter penalties, while Bellator has more lenient rules and milder punishments. In addition, UFC requires fighters to wear 4-oz gloves, while Bellator allows fighters to wear up to 6-oz gloves.

Bellator allows for a broader range of techniques, including heel kicks, elbow strikes, and soccer kicks.

Broadcast Channels

While the UFC is broadcast on several major networks, such as ESPN and Fox Sports, Bellator is mainly broadcast on DAZN and the Paramount Network. As a result, the UFC has much higher visibility compared to Bellator. That's not to say that Bellator isn't making strides in visibility, but the UFC has a much larger global reach.

Prize Money

In UFC, all competitors receive a cash prize for participating in a match, with the winners taking home much larger sums of money. On the other hand, prize money in Bellator is not available for each matchup. Instead, Bellator has a points system that awards points for wins and losses, which can be used toward season-end bonuses for the fighters.


Who pays more: UFC or Bellator?

The answer to this question depends on the fighter's success. UFC fighters can make significantly more money than Bellator fighters. UFC fighters can earn up to $6 million a year, while Bellator fighters typically make far less than that. Additionally, UFC fighters generally get a larger share of the Pay-Per-View buys. In short, UFC fighters generally make more money than Bellator fighters.

Which UFC fighters left for Bellator?

It is not uncommon for UFC fighters to leave the competition to join Bellator. This is the case of Cris Cyborg, Benson Henderson, or Corey Anderson.

Why are some UFC fighters leaving for Bellator?

Some fighters have cited a better financial situation in Bellator as a motivating factor, as the promotion is willing to pay higher salaries for some of its marquee fighters. On the other hand, some fighters also cite the more relaxed atmosphere in Bellator, where there is less pressure to put on a show and more freedom to fight their own style.


The UFC and Bellator MMA both offer exciting combat sports action. While the UFC is larger than Bellator and has a more recognizable brand, Bellator offers a more diverse lineup of fights and fighters. Both organizations provide great opportunities to watch and enjoy Mixed Martial Arts at its highest levels.

Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
Share our Article on:

Table of Contents

About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
All Posts Written By Tom Vincent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrosschevron-downarrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram