Creating stars in any sport is more art than science. Nowhere is that more true than mixed martial arts.
Some fighters, despite their obvious limitations, just seem to resonate with the fanbase. You can try to put your finger on the reason why, but it flitters away like magic.
Think Kimbo Slice or Clay Guida.
Other fighters, despite model looks, humble personae and athletic excellence, never seem to catch on with the fans.
Think Frankie Edgar, Jon Fitch or Jake Shields.
If there is an algorithm, the nerds have kept it carefully saved in their scientific calculators pending some sort of contract negotiations. They certainly haven't shared it with the humble MMA media or the UFC's genius matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby.
But I submit that there is a way to create a new generation of MMA stars, a group of fighters custom built to replace aging veterans like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and B.J. Penn. It requires only the most basic math and a whole lot of luck.
Ready to take notes, Joe? Please proceed.