What Are the Differences Between UFC vs Bellator? | Easily Explained
The UFC and Bellator are both mainstream Mixed Martial Art promotions that consist of some of the best fighters in the world.
But how are they different from each other?
In this page, we will explain the differences between the UFC vs Bellator.
Table of Contents
- Presidents of the UFC and Bellator
- Matchmaking Differences
- Roster Name Differences
- Fighter Pay Differences
- Drug Testing Programs
- Round Differences
- Weight Class Differences
- Where You Can Watch Each Promotion
- Glove Differences
Presidents of the UFC and Bellator
The UFC President is Dana White, who has been president of the UFC since 2001, and has even remained president after the purchase of the UFC.
Dana White is part owner of the UFC, and is widely credited for the meteoric rise of not just the UFC, but MMA as a whole.
White is also known for always speaking his mind, whether it's being critical about a fighter's performance, detailing the status of ongoing negotiations with fighters, or being critical of people that he doesn't like, such as Ariel Helwani.
Scott Coker is the Bellator president who would found the Strikeforce organization in 1985.
Strikeforce would begin as a Kickboxing organization, but eventually transform into a major Mixed Martial Arts organization.
Strikeforce would eventually be bought out by the UFC in 2011, securing elite talent and future champions including:
- Daniel Cormier - UFC Champion in Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight
- Fabricio Werdum - UFC Heavyweight Champion
- Robbie Lawler - UFC Welterweight Champion
- Luke Rockhold - UFC Middleweight Champion
After the acquisition, Coker was retained for 3 years by the UFC.
Once his contract expired, Coker became the Bellator president.
The UFC has a 1 fight matchmaking system, where they book one fight at a time for a fighter, and then don't book the fighter for their next fight, until after their fight is completed.
Depending on the result (Win, Loss, No Contest), they will book their next fight accordingly.
Bellator is a more tournament-oriented promotion, as they are known for holding the 'Bellator Grand Prix'.
Each fighter will start on one side of the bracket for their weight class, and if they win, they are able to advance to the next fight.
If they lose, they are eliminated.
This continues all the way until two fighters are able to fight for the championship belt.
Although fighters and promoters don't know exactly who they will face next, they know it will be one of two people.
Roster Name Differences
There were 689 fighters on the UFC roster in 2021, but that number is growing.
Some of the more notable fighters for the UFC include:
- Conor McGregor
- Kamaru Usman
- Israel Adesanya
- Jon Jones
- Henry Cejudo (aka Triple C)
- Charles Oliveira
Bellator's roster number is undisclosed, but it is no where near the number that the UFC has.
Some of the more notable fighters for Bellator include:
- Patricio Pitbull
- Gegard Mousasi
- Vadim Nemkov
- A.J McKee
- Ryan Bader
- Corey Anderson
- Sergio Pettis
Fighter Pay Differences
Bellator pays certain fighters more when they come fight for Bellator, than what they were earning in the UFC.
Some former UFC fighters who've made much more money in Bellator include Gegard Mousasi and Corey Anderson.
However, overall, for all of the fighters in the prelims to those in the main event, the UFC pays their fighters more.
Former UFC Fighters Who Went to Bellator
Some of the more notable former UFC fighters who were able to earn more in Bellator than they did in the UFC include Gegard Mousasi and Corey Anderson.
Preliminary Fighter Pay in Bellator vs UFC
The most noticeably difference in fighter pays occurs in the lower portion of the card, more specifically the preliminary card.
In Bellator's most recent event (Bellator 275), Lee Hammond and Jamie Hay both had a $2k base salary (to show), and $2k win bonus.
Hammond would win the fight and earn $4k, while Hay would lose the fight and earn $2k.
On the other hand, for UFC's most recent event (UFC 275), the lowest fighters on the card have a $12k to show, and $12k to win contract.
|Silvana Gómez Juárez||$12k||$12k||$4k||$50k||$78k|
Gomez Juarez would win the fight through a devastating knockout, and collect a bonus of the night as well, earning a total of $78,000.
Drug Testing Programs
UFC Drug Testing
The UFC partnered with USADA, the U.S Anti Doping Agency. USADA is the national anti-doping organization in the United States for Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American sport.
Famously, Jeff Novitzky (USADA) was the person who would bust Lance Armstrong for doping.
USADA is a much stricter drug testing organization, and has been credited with cleaning up the sport.
In fact, athletes can be tested 365 days a year, without advance notice. Athletes are also required to inform USADA of their daily regular schedule and must report any changes.
They use an app that has to be maintained accurately all year, and if it is not, athletes can be subject to fines and/or suspensions.
Bellator Drug Testing
Bellator does drug test, however it is done by the athletic commission. The athletic commission varies by which state they fight is taking place in.
If the fight is taking place in Nevada, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) will issue drug tests.
There isn't a separate organization that actively tracks each fighter's whereabouts throughout the year, in order to randomly drug test them. In short, they do drug test, but it's nowhere near as strict as other organizations.
In fact, they use the same drug testing system that the UFC used to do before 2015.
This same drug testing system was the one that busted Jon Jones for having used cocaine.
Fight Round Differences
The UFC does a 5 round, 5 minute main event, regardless of if there's a belt on the line.
This wasn't always the case as in 2011, Dana White implemented the policy that all main events will be 5 round fights from that moment on.
Prior to this, main events were only 3 rounds, if it wasn't for a title.
Bellator has yet to adopt this policy, and maintains the traditional 3 round 5 minutes for non-title bouts.
Weight Class Differences
UFC Weight Classes
- 4 Women Weight Classes
- 8 Men Weight Classes
Bellator Weight Classes
- 2 Women Weight Classes
- 7 Men Weight Classes
Where You Can Watch Each Promotion
UFC's non Pay Per view events can be watched on ESPN, while Bellator's non Pay Per view events can be watched on Showtime.
One aspect that you'll immediately notice when watching Bellator for the first time, is that each fighter has a different color of gloves (red vs blue).
While in the UFC, the color of the fighter's corner can be seen by the wrap color below the glove.
Does Bellator Pay More Than the UFC?
Is Bellator Better Than the UFC?