There is no doubting the power of guys like Cain Velasquez or Junior Dos Santos. One punch to the chin from either of these heavyweights leaves you wondering if you will ever eat solid food again.
But just because you can spin someone’s head around faster than Brittany Palmer working out at your local gym, it doesn’t mean you are one of the most powerful people in the UFC. People often overlook those in the UFC that really have power over the direction of the organization.
Obviously, the most powerful man in the UFC is its President, Dana White but after him, who is the most powerful person in the UFC?
Several key factors have to be considered when considering who can really move the organization forward or backward. For instance, can the person alter the daily operations of the UFC and MMA in general? Or, could this person alter the growing brand or image of the organization?
When you start putting “powerful” into those terms there are a lot of guys who get eliminated right away. For instance there is no doubting that Jose Aldo is far and away one of the best fighters in the UFC and could dominate his weight division for years to come. But he doesn’t have the type of juice that can change the future of the organization or even damage it.
Guys like him can certainly help strengthen the UFC and continue to build their name, but it's doubtful they can move millions.
Here are the five most powerful people in the UFC, not named Dana White.
Jon Jones has burst onto the scene and is easily one of the most recognizable faces in the UFC within the states. His contract with Nike was one of the first of its kind with an MMA fighter. He’s the latest target of the organization to help it grow worldwide.
Add that to the fact that Jones has freakish athletic ability and could reign at the top of the light heavyweight division for quite a while, and it’s easy to see the type of power Jones has in the UFC.
If Jones were to come out and act like a clown at his next UFC appearance, more than just hardcore UFC fans would notice.
GSP is a longtime champion, hasn’t been beat in forever and he is an international superstar. People around the world know who GSP is and when he wasn’t fighting, the mainstream noticed. He’s the hero with very few flaws that can speak to Middle America, but in a thick French-Canadian accent.
Also, ask a random lady friend who isn’t a die-hard MMA fan which UFC fighters she knows and her first answer will be GSP.
There is no denying his ability to dominate his weight class, and a potential matchup with Anderson Silva might be the most watched UFC fight in history.
But the power of GSP is in what females 18-35 think of him and how it makes them consider spending money on things associated with the UFC.
Anderson Silva is the UFC’s international brand. Sure there are plenty of great fighters from all around the world who have made a name for themselves, but none bigger than “The Spider.”
Silva is the one guy that everybody wants to see coming to their city for an event. He has nearly 3 million twitter followers and most of them aren’t based in the States. It was also proven that when Silva clowns around like he did in UFC 112 (Abu Dhabi), the brand suffers.
If Silva is knocking people out and winning fights, the UFC continues to grow.
The UFC color commentator is the most recognizable promoter of the organization outside of Dana White. Through movies, TV and the Internet, Rogan has created his own brand and his own fans.
If Rogan were to ever run rogue on the UFC, the potential damage to the brand would be worse than if one of its stars failed a drug test.
Rogan is a regular on national radio shows to talk about the UFC and is the “go to” guy for highly rated satellite shows like “Opie and Anthony.”
The bar for being powerful in the UFC is when someone outside of the rabid fans can recognize you, and there is no doubt “the Fear Factor guy” is known by more outside of the UFC than anyone else.
There aren’t many people who can tell Dana White what to do, in fact hardly any. Lorenzo is one of those rare few that can cage Dana White long enough to get him to perhaps see something differently.
While technically you could include Frank Fertitta III in the conversation, Lorenzo is the brother that has a much more hands-on approach to the organization.
Fertitta’s most recent calculation of net worth came in at just over $1 billion. In the end, when the UFC does something, it is his money that is being spent and because of that, he is one of the few people who can shoot down expansion to another country or change the direction of the organization.