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

  • Trevor Collier
  • Andrew L. Johnson
  • John Ruggiero
Part of the Sports Economics, Management and Policy book series (SEMP, volume 4)


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.


Marginal Effect Coefficient Estimate Probit Model Weight Class Football Match 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Alon Cohen and Rami Genauer of FightMetric for providing data and assistance in interpreting variables.


  1. Allsopp PE, Clarke SR (2004) Rating Teams and Analyzing Outcomes in One-Day and Test Cricket. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A 167(4):657–667.Google Scholar
  2. Amegashie JA, Kutsoati E (2005) Rematches in Boxing and Other Sporting Events. Journal of Sports Economics 6:401–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carmichael F, Thomas D (2005) Home-Field Effect and Team Performance: Evidence from English Premiership Football. Journal of Sports Economics 6(3):264–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chumacero RA (2009) Altitude or Hot Air? Journal of Sports Economics 10(6):619–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Dios Tena J, Forrest D (2007) Within-Season Dismissal of Football Coaches: Statistical Analysis of Causes and Consequences. European Journal of Operational Research. 181(1):362–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Downey G (2007) Producing Pain: Techniques and Technologies in No-Holds-Barred Fighting. Social Studies of Science 37(2):201–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Forrest D, Goddard J, Simmons R (2005) Odds-Setters as Forecasters: The Case of English Football. International Journal of Forecasting 51:551–564.Google Scholar
  8. Gilsdorf KF, Sukhatme VA (2008) Testing Rosen’s Sequential Elimination Tournament Model: Incentives and Player Performance in Professional Tennis. Journal of Sports Economics 9(3):287–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greene WH (2008) Econometric Analysis, 6th ed. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.Google Scholar
  10. Koning R (2000) Balance in Competition in Dutch Soccer. The Statistician 49:419–431.Google Scholar
  11. Meltzer D (2011) Another Record Year for UFC on PPV” Yahoo! Sports, posted January 11. Accessed online:
  12. Rossen J (2010) “The Kick Heard ‘Round the World., posted December 20. Accessed online:
  13. Sanders S (2008) A Constructive Comment on “Rematches in Boxing and Other Sporting Events.” Journal of Sports Economics 9(1):96–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Sandomir R (2007) From the Edge of Madness to Fighting’s Mainstream. New York Times, posted May 25. Accessed online:
  15. Silverman A (1998) John McCain Breaks Up a Fight. Phoenix New Times, posted February 12. Accessed online:
  16. Tenorio R (2000) The economics of Professional Boxing Contracts. Journal of Sports Economics 1:363–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor Collier
    • 1
  • Andrew L. Johnson
    • 2
  • John Ruggiero
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DaytonDaytonUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations