10 MMA Fighter Romance Books You Must Read

Fighter Romance

Fighter Romance books are a subgenre of contemporary romance novels that focus on protagonists who are fighters, typically in disciplines like boxing, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), underground street fighting, or other forms of combat sports. The appeal of these stories lies in the tension between the physicality and aggression of the fighting world and the emotional vulnerability and intimacy of romance.

Here are some common themes found in fighter romance books:

Tortured Hero: The fighter has a troubled past that he’s trying to overcome. This past motivates him to fight, whether escaping poverty, seeking revenge, or finding redemption.

Strong Heroines: While the male lead is physically strong, the heroine brings emotional strength.

High Stakes: High stakes are involved in the fights, whether monetary, honor, or personal redemption.

Training Montages: Like sports romances, there’s a focus on the training and discipline required to be a top-level fighter. This can lead to intimate moments as characters train together or the heroine watches the hero train.

Dual Threats: The external threat (an opponent or a big fight) parallels an internal emotional conflict that needs resolution.

Supportive Communities: Fight gyms, trainers, and other fighters can form a backdrop of supportive or antagonistic characters, adding depth and tension to the story.

Healing: Given the physical and emotional scars many fighters carry, themes of healing, redemption, and recovery are prevalent.

If you like action with romance, fighter romance is an excellent choice. Many light and heavy elements make a complete real-life story in this genre. Boxing or fighter lovers like this story because of the challenging moments and hard feelings. Both historical and contemporary fighter romances are popular among readers.

10 Fighter Romance Books (MMA Relationship)

Fighter romance novels feature multi-dimensional characters. The fighters themselves frequently have layered personalities, with a tough exterior shaped by their tumultuous pasts, juxtaposed against their inner vulnerabilities. This duality makes for complex and intriguing protagonists.

The world of fighting—MMA, boxing, or street fighting—is inherently intense and high-stakes. This environment can amplify emotions, leading to passionate romances and deeply felt conflicts.

Do you have a crush on fighters or bodybuilders? I am going to discuss ten fighter romance books. If you like fighting tropes, then these books are for you. They provide a window into this world’s challenges, camaraderie, and dynamics, which can be fascinating to explore. Let’s fight with romance!

Fighting Silence by Aly MartinezA journey of love, loss, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of the boxing world and a young woman’s struggle with profound hearing loss.Childhood friends-to-lovers, sports romance, illness, alpha male, angst, forbidden love, emotional growth, family dynamics, love triangle, hidden feelings, second chance romance.
Crow by A. ZavarelliA dark story of revenge and redemption set within the underworld of Boston’s mafia.Mafia romance, enemies-to-lovers, kidnapping, revenge, dark romance, alpha male, danger, complex hero, damaged heroine, organized crime, hidden agendas.
Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-MillsA passionate college romance where a British bad boy with a past meets a resilient American girl seeking a fresh start.College romance, bad boy meets good girl, troubled pasts, enemies-to-lovers, British hero, emotional baggage, twin brother dynamic, protective alpha, cultural differences, redemption.
Cole by TijanA suspenseful journey into the world of organized crime, where secrets intertwine with a passionate romance.Mafia romance, alpha male, dark pasts, strong heroine, organized crime, danger, secrets, protectiveness, emotional baggage, complex relationships.
Rising by Jessica RubenA gritty tale of love and survival set against the backdrop of a violent New York City neighborhood.Coming-of-age, forbidden romance, organized crime, rough neighborhood, strong heroine, alpha male, danger, family dynamics, gang violence, societal challenges.
Beat by Amity CrossAn exploration of love and redemption within the electrifying world of underground fighting.Underground fighting, alpha male, tortured hero, forbidden romance, danger, redemption, strong heroine, dark pasts, emotional baggage, enemies-to-lovers.
The Knockout Rule by Kelly SiskindA heartwarming funny classic love story between a therapist and boxer.Sport-romance, arc, slow-burn, mental-health, forced-proximity.
Avoidance by Kristen GranataA girl is struggling with her mental health and discovering her true love.Mystery, mental-illness, cute-love.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireA turbulent college romance between a reformed bad girl and a notorious underground fighter.New Adult romance, bad boy, good girl with a past, college setting, underground fighting, tumultuous relationship, opposites attract, friends to lovers, emotional intensity, jealousy, love triangle.
Hard by Eve JaggerAn ex-fighter businessman meets unexpectedly with a girl and creates banter which turns into a spark.Martial arts, steamy, insta-love, alpha-hero, abuse.
Fighter Romance Books List

1. Fighting Silence (On the Ropes)

The main male character, Till Boxes, and the main female character, Eliza, is his partner. But they have friends to lovers story, which starts with them when they’re young. They both grew up in a very low-income area, so there was an extra apartment in their area, and he would climb through the window. They would sit and chill out and relax, and she would do homework.

They would hang out as friends and, over time, from when they were 12 and 13. When they’re twenty-one, they have a strong foundation of friendship. But as they get past twenty-one, it becomes a more romantic and sexual relationship. A lot of pills, boxing career trying to take off. Unfortunately, at twenty-one, as his career is taking off, he goes deaf, and it’s something he knew. It’s a hereditary disease where your hearing loss decreases over time. Moreover, the deaf representation in this book is good.

Author: Aly Martinez
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: College & Sports Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

2. Crow (Boston Underworld)

This book takes place in Boston, and it’s an Irish organized crime book with a boxing fighter. The story follows Crow, but his name’s Lachlan. But Crow is his last name, and he is an underboss in this Boston crime family, and he meets McKinsey. McKinsey is doing her own little thing. She has her reasons for meeting Lachlan, and she is a fighter. Her dad was a huge boxer and a big-time underground fighter, and many people knew him.

So she goes into the underground fighting ring and fights a man. There’s this whole aspect around how she’s a fighter. You can’t be in organized crime like Boston Underworld without knowing how to fight. Also, the love story develops from their fighting box.

Author: A. Zavarelli
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Romantic Suspense
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

3. Dirty English (English)

Elizabeth, who is always in control, has a firm set of rules that she follows and is honest. Then our hero, Declan, is a British MMA fighter. He’s the campus bad boy who tattooed everything like he is perfect. Declan saves Elizabeth during a frat party gone bad. Someone tries to attack her, and they have one night of passion.

After that night, they’re theoretically supposed to go their separate ways. It’s the story of him being this bad boy image of a fighter. Elizabeth is always in control and trying to balance the two. Declan is very open about his feelings. So, their romance develops as the story goes on.

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Contemporary College Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | MP3 CD

4. Cole

Tijan is very well known for many of her books that will make you cry and happy. With this one, it’s slightly different from a fighter romance. So Cole is a previous fighter, and many people recommend reading Carter. But it’s not necessarily a first or second book. They know each other like they’re interconnected, like Cole and Carter or friends. Also, they both are fighters.

We have Addison, who has been married before, and when she sees Cole in a restaurant, she acts like she shouldn’t remember him. But she has an instant attraction to him. Then, they meet later in the book, and you learn the secrets behind Cole and what he does.

So it’s not necessarily all around him. But previously, they were fighters. The fighter character has these characteristics of fighting to get what they want, and they will never back down from something. They will die to get whatever it is that they want.

Author: Tijan
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Contemporary Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle | MP3 CD

5. Rising (Vincent and Eve)

Rising is the first book in the Vincent and Eve series, but they have reckoned, and Redemption is the second and third. The first does end on a cliffhanger. So, if you want to go into this book, be prepared to read the second and third books. This follows Vincent and Eve. Eve has grown up in poverty, trying to get through college and crawl out of poverty in steps.

Eve meets Vincent at an underground fighting ring, which her sister takes her to. After that, he pops up in places. Then he’ll disappear. So he has all of these secrets that she’s trying to uncover. Vincent doesn’t want her to uncover them, but they have this attraction that keeps pulling them back together.

They meet in the most random ways. He’s one of those male characters that will pop in because he wants to stay away. Further, he shouldn’t involve her, but he can’t help himself. Eve is headstrong in her way, and she knows what she wants and what she must do to get there. But Vincent is making her think strong, independent woman.

Author: Jessica Ruben
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Inspirational Romance
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Kindle

6. Beat (The Beat and the Pulse)

This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions because both characters have much stuff going on. It follows Renee, who is known as Ren. She didn’t know where she came from and about her father. But her father was a fighter, and she has that characteristic inside her, like a fighter. She will do everything that she can to get what she wants. When she realizes twenty-two that she has this father out there that she’s never had a relationship with, she goes to find him. She finds him owning his boxing gym, where he trains fighters, and she takes an immediate interest.

Ren goes through the whole process of learning how to be a fighter, and in steps, Ash is her dad’s best fighter. But he’s been away for a while, and he comes back, which completely questions everything she thought she wanted. Ash is one of those characters that he’s very quiet. Ren puts on a tough front, and it takes a lot to break down her walls. Also, it takes a lot for Ash to do that, not only because he wants to do that, he has to make the step himself to do that.

Author: Amity Cross
Average Rating: 4.2/5
Category: Sports & College Romance
Available: Paperback | Kindle

7. The Knockout Rule (Showmen)

This book follows Eric. He’s a fighter and a boxer. Then you have Isla, a physiotherapist who cares for any athlete. Her dad is a very well-known boxer, and he is someone with whom she’s had a strained relationship her whole life. Her dad asked her to come to Vegas as the physiotherapist for his boxer training, Eric.

When they meet, they try hard not to be attracted to each other and stay friends. Then it gets a little more complicated because you have Preston, Eric’s manager, who has an attraction to Isla. But Isla isn’t attracted to him, and it gets very complicated should she date the boxer because she hates boxing. She hates that because it destroyed her parent’s marriage and strained her relationship with her dad. Eric’s the actual boxer and very smart. He loves linguistics, which is the study of different languages. Isla can not hold her rigidity for so long.

Author: Kelly Siskind
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Boxing, Women’s Poetry
Available: Paperback | Kindle

8. Avoidance (Collision)

This book is a very slow burn at the beginning. It has cheating elements because of the main female character, Merritt. She has this tough choice to let her boyfriend go to California to be a rock star. She’s letting him do that. But at that time and steps, TJ, an Eminem fighter, has a relationship. Also, it hints at them being together and trying to keep the other one, which may cross over with cheating.

They will fight for anything they want and try and get it, especially when they love someone. TJ has that, and it shows what he does try so hard to fight for, what he wants in his career and merit.

Author: Kristen Granata
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Classic Romance Fiction
Available: Paperback | Kindle

9. Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster is a new adult contemporary novel, and it is about our main character, Abby. She is 19 and has started college, and she goes to a fight one day with some of her friends in an underground fighting ring. During that fight, she ends up meeting Travis. Travis is the bad boy on campus. He is a fighter, violent, jealous, and pretty moody. During that time, for some reason, they sparked a friendship. Abby finds her attractive but doesn’t want to be with him.

They start hanging out, and a bet ends up happening. If she loses, she has to stay with him in his apartment for a month with that bet. He must be absent for a month if he loses, and things take off from there. So their feelings and relationships develop day by day.

Author: Jamie McGuire
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Contemporary Women Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

10. Hard

This is another book where you have an MMA fighter, and his name is Ryder. Then we have Cassie, who Ryder meets in a not-so-good way. Ryder goes to her brother’s house because he owes him a debt, and he doesn’t have the money, and they find Cassie. Moreover, they’re an instant attraction. The story takes place in Atlanta. If you love a protective male character, try this book.

Author: Eve Jagger
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Saga Fiction, Sports Romance
Available: Paperback | Kindle

5 Steamy Fighter Romance Books

Real by Katy Evans: This book sets the stage with intensity right from the start. Remy Tate, an underground fighter, is portrayed as the ultimate alpha male, battling his inner demons while being drawn to the young and innocent Brooke. Evans does a commendable job of building the chemistry between the two leads. The storyline may tread the usual tropes of the genre, but what sets it apart is the emotion and passionate relationship that are vividly described, making us feel the heat and angst on every page.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: Set in a college backdrop, this story revolves around Travis Maddox, a bad boy fighter, and Abby Abernathy, a girl trying to distance herself from her dark past. Their love story is tumultuous, to say the least. McGuire brilliantly showcases the ups and downs of young love, infatuation, and the lengths one would go to for love. The characterization may be polarizing for some, but there’s no denying the addictive quality of the narrative.

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille: This book covers a gripping story about Torment, an underground fighter, and Makayla, a medic drawn into his world. The name ‘Torment’ perfectly encapsulates his character, a man battling his haunting past while trying to find redemption in the ring and love. Castille’s writing is engaging, blending the right amount of action, passion, and drama. The dynamic between the leads is both sweet and spicy, offering us a well-rounded romance experience.

Fighting for Flight by J.B. Salsbury: A classic tale where love emerges in the most unexpected circumstances. Jonah, a fighter with a harrowing past, finds solace and unexpected love in Raven, a woman with her problems. Salsbury’s storytelling is heartfelt, making readers root for the characters’ happiness. The narrative focuses deeply on trust, redemption, and the power of love to heal, making it a touching read.

Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland: Nico Hunter, an MMA fighter, meets Elle, a woman who’s been burned by love before. Their story is a whirlwind of emotions, with Keeland skillfully building tension and passion between them. The book offers a balanced mix of steamy scenes, emotional depth, and a peek into the world of MMA fighting. Keeland’s portrayal of Nico is noteworthy – he’s not just a fighter but a man with depth, vulnerabilities, and an unwavering dedication to those he loves.

5 Street Fighter Romance Books

Ryu’s Heart’s Challenge: A wandering warrior finds his heart’s path more complex than any Hadoken he’s thrown. The story starts slowly but picks up pace as Ryu’s chemistry with the spirited village woman, Aina, unfolds. Their bond is palpable, and they battle personal demons and external enemies. The book touches on destiny, sacrifice, and the age-old debate of love versus duty.

Chun-Li’s Dance of Fate: An emotionally charged story, “Chun-Li’s Dance of Fate” offers us a deeper look into the psyche of the iconic Interpol officer. Chun-Li’s fierce battles against the crime lords of Shadaloo are paralleled by her internal struggle against her feelings for Vega. The novel does a commendable job balancing action with heartfelt moments. Some plot twists seem predictable, but the character development is spot on.

Cammy’s Second Chance: The story highlights Cammy’s attempts to rebuild her life post-Shadaloo. Set in a picturesque English village, her budding romance with the retired fighter, Alex, is endearing, albeit cliche at times. The backdrop provides a fresh setting, and the vivid descriptions make you feel like they’re wandering the village streets. However, the pacing felt off, with the middle part dragging on.

Ken’s Dilemma: Exploring marital dynamics and the allure of forbidden love, “Ken’s Dilemma” is an intriguing tale in this series. The narrative delves deep into Ken’s emotions as he’s torn between loyalty to his family and the undeniable attraction towards the mysterious new fighter, Mariko. Flashbacks to Ken’s younger days add depth to his character, showing his transformation from a brash fighter to a mature family man. The climax is intense, and the emotional and physical showdown is well-executed.

Sakura’s Spring Blossom: A delightful blend of nostalgia and romance, this book is a gem. Sakura’s transition from a carefree schoolgirl to a responsible teacher is heartwarming. Her renewed interactions with Karin, filled with playful banter and underlying emotions, keep us hooked. The Kanzuki estate is an opulent backdrop, contrasting Sakura’s humble life. The subplot involving a school tournament feels reminiscent of early Street Fighter days. By the end, you will find themselves cheering for Sakura’s happiness, making this the standout title in the series.

5 Alpha Male Fighter Romance Books

The “alpha male fighter” trope is popular in romance novels, featuring strong, dominant male characters skilled in combat or some form of physical competition. Below are five books that feature alpha male fighters:

Real by Katy Evans: In this steamy romance, Remington “Riptide” Tate is an underground boxer who meets Brooke Dumas, a sports rehabilitation therapist. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable. Evans does an exceptional job crafting a raw and emotional story, focusing deep into a fighter’s psyche.

Fighting for Flight by J.B. Salsbury: Jonah “The Assassin” Slade is a famous U.F.C. fighter with a dark past. When he meets Raven Morretti, their worlds collide in unexpected ways. Salsbury paints a vivid picture of the MMA world, with enough suspense and drama to keep readers on their toes. The relationship between Jonah and Raven evolves beautifully, with both characters showing growth and vulnerability.

Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille: Makayla Delaney’s life changes when she meets Torment, a successful underground fighter, at a fight club. Castille blends humor, steamy romance, and intense fight scenes effortlessly. The characters are well-developed, and the plot offers a good balance of romance and action. The underground fighting world is depicted with gritty realism, making the stakes feel high for both the characters and the reader.

Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland: Nico Hunter, a former U.F.C. middleweight champion, meets Elle James in a chance meeting that sets them on a whirlwind romance. Keeland’s writing is captivating, and her emotional depth to Nico and Elle’s characters is commendable. The storyline addresses issues like trauma and recovery, adding layers to the romance and making the eventual HEA (Happily Ever After) all the more satisfying.

Mine by Katy Evans: As a sequel to “Real,” Evans brings back Remington and Brooke, delving deeper into their relationship and the challenges that come with it. The story dives into the complexities of love, trust, and the world of underground boxing. Evans captures the essence of an alpha male fighter with vulnerability, making Remy a memorable character in romance literature.

For readers who enjoy dominant male leads, high-stakes romance, and the adrenaline-pumping world of fighting, these novels are sure to entertain.

5 Female Fighter Romance Books

Romance novels featuring strong, skilled female fighters as protagonists are gaining popularity. These characters challenge traditional gender norms and bring depth to the romance genre. Here are five romance books spotlighting fierce female fighters:

The Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan: Lara, a healer in her city-state, is taken as a “Warprize” by a warlord named Keir of the Cat. As she faces this new world of war camps and tribal customs, Lara demonstrates her strength, not just physically but also mentally. The romantic tension between Keir and Lara is palpable, and Vaughan beautifully contrasts their cultural backgrounds, making their journey toward love a compelling read.

Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks: Eveline Armstrong, despite her hearing impairment, is a fierce and skilled fighter, having grown up in a warrior clan. When she’s forced into an arranged marriage with Graeme Montgomery, a rival clan’s laird, their relationship explores themes of trust, love, and overcoming adversity. Banks brilliantly crafts a historical romance with layers of depth, passion, and resilience.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: Yelena, on the brink of execution, is offered a role as the Commander’s food taster, which sets her on a journey of magic, rebellion, and romance. Sparks fly amidst political intrigue as she trains under Valek, an assassin. Snyder’s unique world-building combined with Yelena’s formidable fighting and survival skills make for an engrossing romantic fantasy.

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop: Set in a darkly lush world of magic and court intrigue, Jaenelle Angelline stands out as a young witch with enormous power. As she grows, three powerful men, including Daemon Sadi, become her protectors and potential lovers. Bishop’s intricate world-building, a strong female protagonist, and a complex love story create a fascinating start to ‘The Black Jewels’ series.

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh: Sascha Duncan is a Psy, conditioned to feel no emotions, but she’s different. When she meets Lucas Hunter, a changeling able to shift into a panther, their worlds collide. Singh’s portrayal of Sascha as a resilient and powerful woman struggling in a world of shifting allegiances and forbidden emotions is compelling. The palpable chemistry between Sascha and Lucas and the novel’s unique setting make it a standout in paranormal romance.

Last Words

These novels tackle themes of personal growth, redemption, and healing. The protagonists grapple with personal demons, and their romantic relationships are crucial in their journeys toward better versions of themselves. For those who appreciate romance with a side of realism, these books focus deep into the darker, grittier sides of life. This can include struggles with poverty, trauma, addiction, and personal demons.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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