The LeBron James Effect: Who Is MMA's LeBron?

Nick ColonSenior Analyst IJuly 9, 2010

LeBron James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for South Beach has the NBA and, for that matter, the sporting world in an uproar.

It also has ESPN and every major sporting outlet diagramming the ins and outs of the transaction.  This can make an MMA fan wonder who is of comparable status in the octagon (or ring on certain occasions). 

The simple answer to this question is nobody. 

There is not one fighter on the face of this planet that would garner an hour special on ESPN letting fans know which organization has the best chance of signing them.

This is so for two principal reasons: There is currently no free-agency market in MMA that compares to other major sports, and secondly, the MMA is not based on a group effort, rather, it is every man (or woman) for themselves.

Yet, one can dream can't they?


Anderson Silva

The man is the only legitimate choice from MMA that compares to King James.

What James is to David Stern, Silva is to Dana White. Well, at times.

Silva's ego has gotten him into lots of trouble with the UFC president in recent months, and yet, he remains White's steadiest figurehead no matter what division he fights in.

Sound familiar?

"Ask me to play. I'll play. Ask me to shoot. I'll shoot. Ask me to pass. I'll pass. Ask me to steal, block out, sacrifice, lead, dominate. ANYTHING. But it's not what you ask of me. It's what I ask of myself." -Lebron James

Fedor Emelianenko

Yes, it is true that Fedor recently suffered his first loss in nearly 10 years to Fabricio Werdum, yet does that not make him even more like LeBron in a way?

For seven years, James has not been able to know the feeling of winning an NBA Championship, while players of lesser skill have known the feeling of being the league's best that year.

And while Emelianenko has not known the feeling of defeat during that period, he sought the ultimate goal of being known as the best in the Heavyweight division in the world. 

Brock Lesnar

Lesnar is like a young LeBron James.

Lesnar was "drafted" into the league known as the UFC in 2008 and has been a stud after his slow start.

Even James started slow in 2003 when he averaged 20.8 points per game to go with 5.5 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game.

If Lesnar can continue to win much like James has season in, season out, there is no reason Lesnar can't be known as the best fighter in the world much like James is considered to be the best basketball player on the planet.

Georges St. Pierre

St. Pierre and James have mainly one thing in common... skill.

St. Pierre has what is believed by many to be the most pure skill and athleticism of any MMA fighter ever.

When compared to James, St. Pierre has the marketability (see Under Armour), the physique, and the popularity to be recognized as the face of a sport.

While LeBron will be making his impact known in Miami for at least the next five years, GSP is just about ready to cement his history as arguably the most important Canadian athlete in nearly a decade since Wayne Gretzky.