Mixed Martial Arts is not a trivial sport. In the summer of 2016, one of the premier MMA promotions—the Ultimate Fighting Championship—was acquired by Hollywood agency powerhouse and investment group WME IMG for $4.2 billion.
Dana White, President of the UFC, summed up MMA’s newfound notoriety on the world stage:
“Sport is going to the next level,” he said.
The rapid rise of MMA is partially due to the sport’s simplicity—it’s a fight—something which anyone anywhere in the world can comprehend. However, its surge in popularity in recent years speaks more to the graft of that pioneering UFC promotion, which for 20 years campaigned tirelessly to humanize a bloodsport. It made acquisitions of other promotions, it brought in Reebok sponsored uniforms, it blooded female fighters, but above all else—it made itself an extremely accessible promotion…