What Jeremy Lin Reveals About UFC's Role in Society

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIFebruary 20, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19:  Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks reacts during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on February 19, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has done more than take the sports world by storm. He has shown MMA fans just how unimportant the sport is in the mainstream. 

However, this isn't to the detriment of the UFC. It just shows that the traditional ball sports still occupy a significant, crucial and massive role in American society—a role that the UFC is apparently nowhere near reaching, the deal with FOX notwithstanding.

Lin's success story with the Knicks has swept the nation. If you walk up to a random male and say "Linsanity," they'll know what you're talking about. 

All this fanfare and the guy didn't even win a title yet. 

If you were to ask the same stranger and who Jon Jones is, you'll likely be met with an awkward stare, even though Jones, too, is an incredible athlete. 

In fact, Jones has accomplished more in MMA (winning the UFC light heavyweight title and being the youngest UFC champion) than Lin has in basketball. Yet society doesn't recognize him anywhere near as much. 

Even from New York, Jones doesn't get the amount of attention that Lin does in the same media market.  

Another example is UFC middleweight standout Chris Weidman. 

Weidman grew up on Long Island, became one of the world's top wrestlers and submission grapplers and most recently won a fight against Demian Maia on FOX in front of millions. But he doesn't get acclaim on the level that Lin does.

Even if you combine all of the mainstream media attention ever received by Jones and Weidman it still doesn't even come close to what Lin receives in a day.

While Jones and Weidman are lucky to get an article tucked away in the Newsday sports section for besting another man in the purest form of competition, Lin gets covers on Time magazine and Sports Illustrated for throwing a ball into a hoop.

Unfortunately, the majority of the population simply doesn't know or care about what happens in the UFC.

While this will inevitably change, the UFC and MMA still have a long, long way to go until the sport is finally as mainstream as the other major sports. 

Once we see a fast-rising fighter get the same amount of attention that Lin is getting, then we'll finally know that the UFC has made it. 

Until then, we can only speculate how the UFC will make that happen.