The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) has established a dedicated sanctioning body for professional athletes to help future development within the sport.
GAMMA PRO will provide belts for champions and a ranking system for all participants of GAMMA-sanctioned tournaments and events in order to enable these athletes to complete in professional circuits.
Germany's Adrian Bakos and Italy's Francesco Migliaccio are set to lead the GAMMA PRO Commission, with its main task to track the rankings and set competitions.
Official rankings and rules are set to be released on the official website soon.
"Creating GAMMA PRO is crucial for the development of the sport," said GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt.
"Mixed martial arts (MMA) have had a different development than other sports.
"It started off focusing on the commercial side of sports rather than from the grassroots, which makes it interesting since the growth and popularity of MMA has been exponential.
"MMA has 577 million fans worldwide according to Nielsen's report 'Fan Insights 2020'.
"With this fanbase we are the third most popular sport in the world with football and basketball ahead of us.
"Striving towards GAMMA's mission, we have also developed a full athlete career programme, where further details will be announced shortly."
The athlete career programme will look to assure the safety and fair play of the sport as a guide for athletes.