10 Most Entertaining People in MMA

Editor's pick of ten people who stand out for excellent contributions to the world of MMA.

By: FOTN Staff   |   September 3rd 2021
The world of MMA entertainment is made up of fighters, media members, promotion staff and many other people; all who work toward putting great shows on each week. In the UFC there are over 700 fighters, 500 administration staff and covering them are over 100 journalists. Beyond that, there are other promotions too, like Bellator, which have their share of entertainers. So, with this vast field in mind, who do you think are the most critical people to our entertainment? To answer this question, we've sleected some fighters, media members and UFC staff who we think are the most to thank for our annual entertainment intake.

10. Forrest Griffin

What He Brought To MMA: Saved the UFC by fighting hard when it mattered most.

Forrest Griffin is funny as hell, but more importantly, we all have him to thank for the UFC's existence. Back in 2005 the UFC was losing money and about to shut down. The first season of the TV show "The Ultimate Fighter" was the owner's last effort to try to attract fans and make the business work. On the show's finale, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fought each other in perhaps the most entertaining and important fight in UFC history. The guys put on such a bloody battle that people were telling their friends and viewership kept rising throughout the fight. Their performance was so entertaining that it earned the sport many new fans, and acted as a turning point in the UFC's financial survival. Griffin comes across as a lovable, friendly guy who's hilarious in interviews and on podcasts (Except for that one time he broke an interviewer's leg). He's also the author of two comedic books Got Fight?: 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat and Be Ready When The Shit Goes Down: A Survival Guide to the Apocalypse. For putting on a great fight when the UFC needed it most, Forrest Griffin makes our list as #10 most entertaining person in MMA.

9. Dustin Poirier

What He Brings To MMA: Consistently puts on exciting fights against top contenders.

Dustin Poirier's career has been a long, gradual, uphill grind. His public journey really started in 2014 with a notorious KO at the hands of rising star Conor McGregor. However, since that loss Dustin has the attitude of a man who buckled down, put in the hours and gradually built his abilities to the point where he is now decisively beating every top contender, including McGregor. Poirier has exciting wins over Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Dan Hooker, Cub Swanson, Chan Sung Jung, Anthony Pettis and others. Fans rate Dustin's fights as very entertaining - on our website FOTN.tv, on which fans rate fights (think Rotten Tomatoes for fights), Dustin Poirier has the highest score of any big name fighter, at 84%. For bringing war every time he steps in the octagon, Dustin Poirier is our #9 most entertaining person in MMA.

8. Ronda Rousey

What She Brought To MMA: Made women's MMA big.

This Judo champ was smashing chicks with ease and people loved her for it. Ronda had an undeniable ability to bring toughness, explosiveness and dominance. She was a confident warrior, well-spoken, charming and beautiful to boot. Before Ronda Rousey, the UFC did not have any women fighters and was publicly against the notion. Dana White in 2011 said women would 'never' fight in the UFC only to change his tune a few years later due to Ronda Rousey, and calling his former self an 'idiot'. Public awareness of Ronda grew until she was a mainstream, household name, with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Conan and the cover of the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Ronda gets credit as one of the most entertaining people in MMA for her personal achievements in the cage and as the person who made women's MMA big.

7. Ariel Helwani

What He Brings To MMA: Keeping fans in touch with fighters.

Ariel Helwani cannot be overlooked. He is the most established MMA journalist, has been interviewing fighters since 2006 and has published more interview footage than any other person. On his weekly show The MMA Hour, he conducts long interviews with the biggest fighters and coaches in the game. These interviews are the basis for much of the week's news. He is socially connected with insider information and often breaks news about fights, events and injuries before anyone else. He famously reported that Brock Lesnar would fight on UFC 200 before the UFC themselves could announce it. For undermining their announcement plans, he was banned from all UFC events for life, until two days later when the UFC rescinded. Helwani is still the core around which the rest of MMA journalism is growing. For documenting the voices of fighters and giving depth to the stories of MMA, Ariel Helwani is our #7 most entertaining person in the industry.

6. Rose Namjunas

What She Brings To MMA: Exciting fights every time.

Rose Namajunas consistentyly puts on exciting performances, ending high profile fights in showy fashion. Of her 14 professional MMA fights, 9 have earned her Performance of the Night Awards. She has finished by flying arbmar, five rear-naked chokes, she outboxed Joanna J for a TKO and most recently KO'd Zhang Weili by headkick. She has held the Strawweight Belt twice. On top of all that, Rose has a personality that is humble yet tough, vulnerable yet courageous and capable. At live events, Rose often gets the biggest cheer from the crowd, even if she is not the headliner. Rose has an impact on people; even other fighters take note from her. To start her Weili fight, Rose paced the octagon pumping herself up saying "I am the best! I am the best!" - fellow fighter Brandon Moreno credits Namajunas with inspiring him to do the same thing before his Figuredo fight just a few weeks later. Her lovable personality and ability to finish fights in any exciting manner make Rose Namajunas must-see-television. For what she brings to the sport, we credit Namajunas as #6 most entertaining person in MMA.

5. Chael Sonnen

What He Brings To MMA: Gives a strong voice to the narratives of MMA.

As a fighter, Chael championed the notion that a persona, especially a 'heel' character, could help an MMA fighter's career by creating interest. As the funniest and smartest "Bad Guy" ever, Chael fought and talked his way into big fights for over a decade. Now retired from the cage, Chael excels as an analyst and podcaster. His YouTube show "Beyond The Fight" is addressed to the fighters themselves, to whom Chael gives career and marketing advice. Some of Chael's most frequent pearls include: take the big fights when you can get them, focus on your position on the card rather than how high your opponent is ranked, and find some way to make yourself interesting. And if you're gonna be a bad guy, have a code and stick to it. Chael publishes a dozen videos each week, commenting on every talking point imaginable, but always keeping it interesting. For his outstanding ability to tell a story and define narratives in MMA, Chael Sonnen earns the spot of #5 most entertaining person in the business.

4. Joe Rogan

What He Brings To MMA: Exceptional UFC Commentating

Joe Rogan deserves a place in the UFC Hall of Fame. He started working on the microphone at UFC events way back in 1997. At first, he turned down the job saying he "just wanted to go to the fights and drink". When Rogan did finally come on board, he worked for free, paid only by his love of being involved in the sport. Joe proved to be fantastic as a color commentator - his background in stand-up comedy and jiu-jitsu provided a perfect base for connecting with fans. Rogan could describe a grappling sequence with enough simplicity to help a complete newbie understand what was going on, and also with a genuine joy, like an excited friend watching the fights beside you. Rogan is loved by fans, UFC fighters and fellow commentators alike. Sean O'Malley loves Joe. Thug Rose wants a hug. Even the great Chael Sonnen pays respect to "wonderful guy" Joe Rogan. For helping new fans fall in love with the sport, Joe Rogan earns our #4 spot for most entertaining man in MMA.

3. Conor McGregor

What He Brings To MMA: Star Power that transcended MMA.

Conor McGregor brought more fans to MMA than any other person. With punching power and charisma, McGregor KO'd his way to the top of the UFC in 2013 - 2016. Holding records for most PPVs sold and highest earnings through ticket sales, he is undeniable good tv. After his rise in the UFC, McGregor boxed Floyd Mayweather in 2017, and then returned to the UFC to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, Donald Cerrone and Dustin Poirier (twice). Outside of the octagon, McGregor's entrepreneurial pursuits include McGregorFast - a sports workout program, August McGregor - a clothing line, Proper 12 - an Irish Whiskey and The MacLife - a sporting news company. In 2021, McGregor topped Forbes' highest paid athlete list, earned a reported $180 million - he is a proven fighter, entertainer and businessman. Athletically, McGregor is currently on the disabled list rehabilitating a broken leg bone suffered in his July 2021 loss to Dustin Poirier. Although his future in the octagon is unsure, Conor McGregor continues to headline MMA news, as his activity on social media is enough to propogate interest. For being the most captivating MMA fighter so far, Conor McGregor earns our pick for #3 most entertaining person in MMA.

2. Dana White

Entertains us by: Managing Fighters, Fans, Media, Staff and anchoring the whole industry.

Dana White works his ass off behind the scenes and in front of the cameras. As executive leader for the UFC, he makes important company decisions and negotiates with fighters. As public figurehead, he answers to the media at every show. We can only imagine the amount of pressure Dana White faces and he gets our respect for enduring the role for the last 20 years. Early on, White had a youthful, face-reddening temper that earned him nickname the "big red tomato". White has matured into his role over the decades and now brings a calm, consistent and often humorous energy to interviews. White can be the focus of criticism for disagreeable business moves, but we see a businessman doing his best to promote MMA, and succeeding. For his committment and leadership in growing MMA worldwide, Dana White is our #2 most entertaining person in the industry.

1. The Fertitta Brothers

Entertains us by: Financing and guiding the UFC's growth to success.

Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta are the men who owned the UFC during it's growth from obscurity in 2001 to global recognition in 2016. Already wealthy from a Las Vegas family casino business, they bought the UFC and appointed their childhood friend Dana White as president. For the next 15 years, the Fertitta's invested millions of their own money into the company and also lobbied nationwide to get MMA public sanctioning and recognition. Lorenzo was more involved in the day-to-day operation of the UFC and is know for his negotations with fighters. He is said to be calm, matter-of-fact and easy to work with. Fighters often thanked Lorenza during post-fight octagon speeches - he has a well-liked reputation. For putting their time, energy and capital into developing MMA, the Fertitta brothers are our #1 choice for most entertaining people in the sport.

There's our ten picks for most entertaining people in MMA. What do you think? Is there a person you feel deserves to be recognized as going above and beyond for our entertainment? Our honorable mentions is Donald Cerrone, who hold UFC records for most fights, wins, finishes and post-fight awards. Who would you pick? Leave your choice as a comment on our Reddit post.

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