The 5 Most Hyped MMA Fighters of the Past Decade
Hype is a normal, necessary part of MMA and all sports. However, it can sometimes turn in on itself, creating a sort of autoimmune reaction. Then everything just goes nuts. Overexposure sets in and you've collapsed your own souffle.
Sometimes such levels of hype are justified (think: LeBron James). Sometimes they are not. That's not the point, though. The point is that sometimes hype takes on a life of its own, and the subject of the hype enters that little hall of mirrors known as being famous for the sake of being famous.
Here are the five MMA fighters of the past decade who best exemplify the Kardashian approach to star making.
5. Conor McGregor
He's fairly new to the scene, but when was the last time you were so tired of hearing a name as you are Conor McGregor's?
Sure, you could say he's earned it, what with his impressive 2-0 record and his pedigree as a two-division champ in the Cage Warriors promotion.
And, sure, it's cool what he's doing—representing Ireland and all.
However, his interview persona is beginning to border on shtick. And I'm sure no one out there is clamoring for another photo of McGregor posing with celebrities or cruising the strip in Dana White's Ferrari.
Maybe it's time to pump the brakes just a little bit as McGregor recovers from knee surgery.
4. Kimbo Slice
My second slideshow in two days to feature Kimbo Slice.
I'm a lucky, lucky boy.
The Tay Zonday of MMA rode a mountain of hype into EliteXC, The Ultimate Fighter and eventually the UFC proper. No question, he looked and sounded the part, but he never could live up to the column inches.
3. Wanderlei Silva
This could have gone to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua or some other transplant from Pride, but I'm going with Wandy here because of that long-anticipated war with Chuck Liddell.
Some of the air went out of the balloon when both Silva and Liddell lost heading into their collision. In any case, the hype was still thunderous when "The Axe Murderer," the most celebrated MMA fighter ever, finally stepped into the Zuffa-era Octagon.
2. Ronda Rousey
Hard to know what else to say here. It's a hype train that began in earnest two years ago and continues to this day.
I suppose it's fairly self-explanatory. The Olympic background, the perfect record, the first-round armbars, the killer instinct, the bad attitude cut perfectly (at least in interviews) with humor and vulnerability. Oh, and the appearance, too. That is also a factor.
It should hit another crescendo soon, as her coaching stint opposite archrival Miesha Tate on The Ultimate Fighter begins to come to a head.
1. Brock Lesnar
I remember it like it was yesterday. MMA and pro wrestling fans united, two big fanbases gnashing their teeth, tearing at their clothes and falling all over themselves to, for one reason or another, buy Brock Lesnar's pay-per-views. Money was no object.
Nothing this side of a time machine and a better manager for Fedor Emelianenko could surpass the unbelievable hype that accompanied the WWE Superstar's transition to the Octagon.