Violence and Aggression in Sporting Contests

Volume 4 of the series Sports Economics, Management and Policy pp 97-109


Aggression in Mixed Martial Arts: An Analysis of the Likelihood of Winning a Decision

  • Trevor CollierAffiliated withUniversity of Dayton Email author 
  • , Andrew L. JohnsonAffiliated withTexas A&M University
  • , John RuggieroAffiliated withUniversity of Dayton

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Within the last decade, mixed martial arts has become one of the most popular sports worldwide. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the largest and most successful organization within the industry. In the USA, however, the sport is not sanctioned in all states because some politicians view the sport as too violent. The sport consists of many fighting forms and, unlike boxing, winning a decision requires judging in multiple facets including wrestling, boxing, kick boxing, and jiu-jitsu. In this study, we estimate the likelihood of winning a decision in the UFC. Using data on individual fights, we estimate the probability of winning based on fighter characteristics. We emphasize power strikes as it relates to aggression to determine the likelihood of winning. Our results indicate that knockdowns and damage inflicted are all statistically significant determinants of winning a fight and have the largest marginal effect of influencing judge’s decisions.