Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz on ExtraTV with Mario Lopez 4/6/2016

The journey to mainstream

It’s always fun to reevaluate how far the sport of MMA has come. I think a large reason for this is because it was only a couple of decades ago that the sport was truly born in its modern sense, yet its growth has been rapid. And, it is still coming along as evidenced by the fact it was only last month that the sport achieved legalization in all 50 states! Despite all this, the sport, at least in terms of the mainstream, has increased its presence and acceptance in our world society, aided by superstars like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. So let’s take a quick look at where in the mainstream today MMA is present.

UFC strawweight fighter Paige VanZant takes the cake right now for being most known to the mainstream audience because of her participation in ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. She has also benefited from Ronda Rousey’s fame train taking a blistering hit from Holly Holm. The UFC tweets and retweets every chance it gets about Paige on the DWTS show. On the positivity scale, she scores high for the UFC and their brand. On the other end of the scale is Jon Jones and his never-ending escapades when he decides to drive a car.

He recently was arrested for violating his probation after it was learned he had been pulled over and ticketed for a variety of infractions involving drag-racing. For the record, he was not drag-racing. Nonetheless, he got the TMZ level of attention so I guess that counts when trying to measure the mainstreamness of MMA.

In the movie world it was recently announced that Michael Bisping landed a role in Vin Diesel’s next xXx movie which assumingly will be a film that gets a wide-release in theaters across the country. Well done Mike. Not too long ago a slew of MMA fighters and vets were a part of Kevin James’ Here Comes the Boom, a movie centering around a high school teacher who gets into MMA.

MMA has even broken into the political world! I was honestly quite surprised when I saw former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson posing in a picture with Vitor Belfort.

And we also in the past month or so have several new books penned by current and former fighters.

Then there are some musicians to add into the mix. Recently, Nate Diaz and Justin Bieber had a little social media squabble that appears to have been mended.

Luke Rockhold even got some backstage time with Taylor Swift, and let’s hope he thinks twice before ever going back on a Millionaire Matchmaker type show.

In this past year there are countless other sightings of MMA in the mainstream. They overwhelmingly are positive, and this bodes well for the continued growth of the sport. For now, I’ll just leave you with this one to figure out: