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Is the UFC Running Down the NFL and NBA?

Posted on by Jeff Cain

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones

The Ultimate Fighting Championship and the sport of mixed martial arts has risen from the roots of a fringe sport into the mainstream spotlight in recent years, but is it running down other mainstream sports in America?

UFC light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones thinks so.

“It’s become much more of a mainstream thing,” Jones said recently on a UFC 140 media conference call. “We’re really starting to catch up to the NBA and to the NFL.”

The sport landing on the Fox network is a tremendous step forward in recognition and acceptance. Jones understands where the sport is, where it’s been, and where it could be going. New markets are being reached and new advertising dollars are pouring in.

“We’re right there,” said Jones. “We’re looking up fast and I think when these major companies come looking at us, I want them to know that you can trust investing into UFC because we’re quality guys. Just as much of athletes and professionals as any other club sport.”

With the Fox deal, mixed martial arts finds itself having to re-educate the public about the sport, its athletes and its rules. It’s about packaging the sport the right way to the millions of more eyes that are tuning in now that may have misconceptions.

“I think mainstream America has a lot of learning to do about us. Being in the position that I am, I just want mainstream America to know that we’re solid guys, that we’re class acts, capable of being mainstream individuals,” said Jones.

“These people, they won’t know how much training and how much education goes into each bout,” he added. “I kind of do small things like media training and always try to make sure that I have a suit on and just try to portray us for the positive light.

“Let mainstream people get to know that we’re college educated guys and that we are intelligent athletes and not just guys who show up and beat each other up in the cage,” said the 205-pound champion.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501891998 josehernandez

    I love hat mma is getting more recognition as a sport and that we’re getting more shows to watch. I definitely would like it to be like the NFL, where we can see fights all the time and have the highlights in Sportcenter. However, I hate the concept of being “mainstream” and what Jones said about wearing a suit just to prove something. It is just ridiculous to think like that. I hate the fact that people give that such meaning when in reality it does not matter. It’s just so stupid how some people’s minds work. I also hate the fact that people talk about mma as if they were experts on it, but they discovered mma after TUF 1 and they saw a bunch of videos on youtube. It’s so lame!! It’s an insult to all of us who were there from the beginning!!

    • KBEsq

      I agree with you about the recognition, but I totally disagree with you about your final comment. I actually didn’t know ANYTHING about MMA prior to about 2007. I got into it because of a friend, started training as a hobby, and I never miss any MMA event, and I’ve watched like EVERY UFC Unleashed.

      I honestly believe that I can talk MMA with ANYONE. Whether it’s technical talk, or stats, I can hang with anyone, and I became a fan LONG after TUF 1. The funny part is I learned WAY more through watching UFC Unleashed and just listening to Rogan than I have actually training with a guy who knows a lot about MMA training.

    • The_Sheriff

      If a sport doesn’t gain new fans, it dies.

  • phrankthetank

    I got into MMA during TUF 3. Now i train bjj wrestling and boxing. Most of the fans the sport has have been a result in some form of TUF. But to say I can’t be an expert in the sport because I didnt watch the older events live is ludicrous. I can’t be a football expert because I didn’t see the 1st Super Bowl? As for jones wearing a suit and all that. Perception is important when you’re trying to break into a new market. It sucks, but that’s how the world works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfullam davidfullam

    NFL, NBA? What the heck are those?

  • somecokehead

    I really think the NBA and NFL need to have some competition. Stars in these leagues make too much money. If the UFC can eat into profits of these businesses and players are subsequently paid less… good for the UFC!

  • bdono554

    NFL no. NBA its a possibility. I was in about 4th grade for UFC 1 and didn’t know what I was watching. At the time nobody in the US did outside a few 100 people who trained with the Gracies! Jose your no different than some idiot fan boy at a comic convention. New fans are always coming to the UFC so if someone sitting next to you at a bar and doesn’t understand the difference between a mounted gogoplata and a right cross just suck it up! New fans are good for the sport! Just because you watch the sport like its porn doesn’t make you better than a casual fan.

  • http://www.twitter.com/uncanny390 uncanny390

    It will be a very long time before it gets there because there are tons of old people who will never accept that this isnt some barbaric sport where people just mindlessly slug at their opponents with the intention of horribly maiming them for life. A generation or two will have to pass before the sport is widely accepted.

    And phrankthetank: Best Line Ever “I cant be a fan of football if I didnt watch the first Super Bowl?” lmao

  • fsunoles09

    it would be nice but football and baseball is my **** before anythin and my opinion is it wont ever be on mlb or nfl level just cuz the history and the rivalrys the traditions and i can keep goin all day r always gonna be there.nba now is a diffrent story like bd said i would think that could be a possibility but thats still pretty slim.that being said im not sayin mma cant be big it can actually be enormous without havin to top the nfl,mlb or nba.its already pretty big and i only see it gettin bigger