Abstract The sidewall functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) was established by poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) using controlled radical polymerization (CRP) method. A bromide functionalized SWCNT (SWCNT-Br) has been used as an initiator for the synthesis of SWCNT-graft-PMMA (SWCNT-g-PMMA). The efficiency of the sacrificial initiator (S) was monitored during the polymerization process. The obtained polymers possess a uniform distribution of molecular weight with a lower polydispersity index of 1.36. The SWCNTs-based initiator acts as an efficient medium for the controlled growth of polymer on the SWCNTs surfaces. The presence of bimodal gel permeation chromatographic (GPC) curve for the SWCNT-g-PMMA(S) obtained through sacrificial initiator (S) confirms uncontrolled behavior. However, the clear sharp peak for SWCNT-g-PMMA obtained without sacrificial initiator shows its well-controlled process of polymerization, which acts as a mimic to bone cement. The efficiency of the functionalization of SWCNT and the controlled formation of SWCNT-g-PMMA composites were characterized by TGA, Raman, TEM, NMR, XPS and dispersion measurements.