UFC on FOX: Ideas on How to Move MMA into the Mainstream
Hardcore MMA fans are the Trekkies of the sports world. Both follow their obsessions with a passion and a snobbery that alienates them from those who may not share their singular focus. They know everything and don’t want casual fans and the trappings of mainstream popularity tarnishing the purity of what was once all theirs.
I get it. It’s like being a fan of some garage band years before they made it big and then having to endure them being slobbered over by tweens and Carson Daley on MTV. Watching a private passion go public makes it less special in some ways, less intimate. You are no longer in an elite group of insiders but just one of the clamoring herd.
Now that the UFC is on FOX, the leap to the mainstream is inevitable, much to the chagrin of those who have been around since MMA was considered “human cockfighting.”
Here are some ideas on how to make that transition a little smoother without changing the nature of the sport.
A New Look
Like it or not, MMA fans are partially responsible for representing the sport to the rest of the world.
These skull-and-flag covered Ed Hardy-ripoff atrocities make those who wear them look like the side of an airbrushed van from the 70s, the walls of a biker tattoo parlor or, even worse, like cast members of the Jersey Shore.
If you are one of these people (especially if you are over 20), I am sorry, but when I see you on the streets, I think “Wow, what a d-bag, and he doesn’t even know it.”
Since it is too early for hipsters to start wearing these shirts ironically, let’s just pull them off the shelves and replace them with, I don’t know, anything else.
MMA, you’re not going mainstream if your street reps look like "The Situation."
Live from New York It’s Saturday Night!
One way to announce your arrival to the mainstream is by hosting Saturday Night Live. It is a right of passage for those who want to be household names.
If Peyton Manning, who is like a wooden Forrest Gump, can pull it off, I am sure Dana White can as well.
A few walk-on cameos by fighters, a TUF parody involving Bill Hader as Stefon and maybe even a Dana White song-and-dance number would introduce the sport to the mainstream and show that it isn’t populated entirely by humorless meatheads with no self-awareness.
Everybody Loves Mayhem
Movies like Warrior are trying to take advantage of the newfound popularity of MMA, but are still really made for fans of the sport, not people in the mainstream.
What the UFC needs is a broad comedy that can appeal to the mouth-breathers who watch shows like Home Improvement and According to Jim.
I give you Everybody loves Mayhem, a sitcom about a UFC-fighting, single father who has to juggle his training and career with raising two daughters after his wife tapped out to cancer.
If Jim Belushi can carry a crappy sit-com for eight years, I am certain Mayhem Miller could be the UFC's first breakout TV star.
The Only Thing You Have to Fear Is Fear Itself....and This Horse Penis
I hate this show and have no desire to see Antonio Nogueira eat a horse penis (okay, maybe a little), but an all-UFC Fear Factor seems like a no-brainer to me.
There has already been a lot of clamoring for this, so I won’t exhaust the topic, but the best bet would be to have three fighters and three ring girls.
If attractive people eating maggot milkshakes is what the mainstream wants, the UFC should take advantage. Get on it Rogan.
If curling, figure skating, synchronized swimming and cross-country skiing/rifle shooting can hold people’s attention, I am pretty sure MMA can as well. It’s a fact: people will watch anything (even soccer) as long as they can cheer for their country.
Brazil hosts the 2016 Olympics and has the ability to introduce a sport at their discretion, much like how the U.S. introduced beach volleyball in 1992.
Something tells me this is going to happen, if for no other reason than Brazil will want to increase their medal count while playing host. So look for MMA in the 2016 Olympics, which will be the last step of its journey into the tainted waters of the mainstream.
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