ONE Championship reached a major milestone this week. According to Nielsen the promotion has now surpassed the Champion’s League and the NFL as well as the UFC in terms of its total online video views.

The report lists ONE Championship as being second only to the NBA when calculating the total amount of video views across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok. The MMA promotion boasted 13.841 billion views while the basketball league was slightly ahead with 14.555bn views.

ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong broke down the details of the Nielsen report on Facebook:

Other metrics

In terms of followers the UFC is still ahead of ONE Championship but the gap is closing. The American promotion has 82mn followers across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube while its Asian rival has 42.7mn.

It is also interesting to compare how the two major MMA promotions perform across the various social media platforms. The UFC is well ahead on Tik Tok with 10mn followers while ONE Championship has 2.2mn.

On Facebook, Instagram and YouTube the gap is closer and appears to be closing. The UFC currently has 82mn followers while ONE Championship has 42.7mn.

One area in which ONE Championship clearly leads the way is traditional linear TV. The Asian promotion reached 406mn people through this platform in 2021 while the UFC was seen by 259mn and 11mn people watched Bellator.

This was despite the UFC receiving more exposure through linear TV. It was broadcast for a total of 20,000 hours while ONE Championship had 10,700 hours and Bellator had 2000 hours.

A graph comparing the video views across social media platforms for major sporting leagues and tournaments

Healthy picture

The report paints a healthy picture of the MMA industry. The sport is relatively new, at least compared to football, and basketball which have been played for centuries.

ONE Championship was founded in 2011, the UFC was founded in 1993 and Bellator opened its doors in 2008. By contrast the Champion’s League was founded in 1955, the NBA in 1946 and the NFL in 1920.

By these standards the MMA promotions on the list are relatively new. A sport that was once dismissed as being too violent for mainstream consumption has grown to become one of the biggest in the world.