This is part 2 of a 3-part series in which I extract and explore data from UFC events. I recommend you read part 1 first so that you have the full context of this project. For context, I extracted the data from the UFC stats website. With that data, I’m going to answer the following questions about UFC events:
- Proportion of numbered vs non-numbered UFC events
- How has the number of events evolved in time?
- What percentage of UFC events have taken place in the U.S.?
- What are the cities with the most UFC Events
- In the U.S.
Proportion of numbered (PPVs) vs non numbered events
Numbered UFC events refer to events that include a number in their name, such as UFC 205. With a few exceptions, most numbered UFC events are Pay per Views, which makes it important to distinguish them from non-numbered (non PPV) events.
PPVs represent approximately
of all UFC events
(Note: all percentage calculations are available in this notebook)
How has the number of events evolved in time?
As shown, the UFC started making more events in 2005. In 2005, the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (a competitive reality show intended to sign new fighters) was launched. The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale, which took place in April, featured a fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar. This fight is considered by many as the catalyst of the UFC’s future success, and explains why the number of events started to grow in 2005.
It is worth noting that the number of events was barely affected by the COVID pandemic. The UFC was the first major sports organization to resume activities after the COVID breakout.
What percentage of UFC events have taken place in the U.S.?
Roughly 70% of UFC events have taken place in the USA. Moreover, 32% of the events in the USA took place in Las Vegas. This is not surprising considering that Las Vegas is probably the global mecca of combat sports. Therefore, Las Vegas will be excluded from further analyses involving cities.
What are the USA cities with the most UFC Events?
Excluding Las Vegas, we have the following map of US events. You can hover on each city to see the number of events.
As we will see in the next section, Atlantic City used to be one of the most important cities for the UFC. On the other hand, Houston has become more attractive to the UFC due to having more flexible COVID restrictions.
What are the cities out of the USA with the most UFC Events?
To answer this, let’s plot a bar chart race of the number of events per city and year
In the first early years Birmingham, Alabama was the most important city. Then in 2003 Atlantic City, New Jersey takes over. Around 2009, London, Anaheim and Montreal start catching up. In 2015, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo become more relevant (Brazil is the most important latin american country in MMA). In 2017 London takes the first place, followed by Rio and Sao Paulo.
As we all know, in 2020 the world went crazy, which forced the UFC to make events only in the US and in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (known as “Fight Island”). This is why Abu Dhabi took the first place in 2020, and has since been the place with most total UFC events. Moreover, as shown in the previous section, Houston is now in the top 7.
While the U.S. (especially Las Vegas) continues to be the most important place for the UFC, they have been expanding to new frontiers. This expansion, however, was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. Regardless, this expansion has slowly but surely resumed now that most countries lifted COVID related travel restrictions. As we know, the number of events by year started growing significantly since 2005, and this was not affected at all by the pandemic.
Stay tuned for part 3, where I will explore the most fun UFC statistics: fight statistics.