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MMA Not Legal in New York

Why haven’t we seen a UFC event at what is arguably the nation’s most historic sports venue, Madison Square Garden?  For only one reason, because MMA has not been legalized in the state of New York.  For the casual MMA fan this statement might leave you scratching your head.

The only thing keeping mixed martial arts from being legalized in New York is (drum roll)…the Culinary Union.  Yes, you DIDN’T guess it.  The Culinary Union has a very strong political foothold in the state of New York, and is exercising that foothold to block the legalization of mixed martial arts in the empire state.  The next question you might be asking yourself is what the heck does the Culinary Union have to do with MMA and the UFC?  Short answer is absolutely NOTHING.

Very few people know that Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta not only own Zuffa LLC, the UFC’s parent company, but the brothers are also owners of Station Casinos.  Station Casinos is one of the largest non-union businesses in the gaming/hospitality industry.  Subsequently, this non-union status means that none of Station Casino’s employees are members of the Culinary Union, and thus the Culinary Union is losing out on a potentially substantial revenue stream.

According to different sources, the UFC event would bring between 40 and 50 million dollars to the New York City economy.  From a fan perspective, as well as a businessmen’s point of view, the fact that the state of New York is allowing a Culinary Union to prevent the legalization of MMA is absolutely mind boggling.  I believe, and hope, that more honest and intelligent politicians will prevail in this ridiculous situation.  Perhaps UFC President Dana White said it best when he was quoted by Fox Sports, “It’s not and if-it’s a when.”   (Photo Credit)

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Big Brands in MMA

As the sport continues to grow, I believe that it is only a matter of time before a flood of big brands begin to become more involved in the business of Mixed Martial Arts.  Not only will brands begin to try and get their logo featured on the canvas in the octagon, and featured in other aspects of the UFC programming, but they will also begin to sponsor fighters.  Now the question is, how soon will they, and should they, begin to enter the market?

The simple answer is NOW!  There is no better time than now for big brands to enter the market.  Despite a down economy, the UFC is still continuing to grow at incredibly rapid rates.  Bought by the current owners, Zuffa LLC in 2001, most people often forget that it has only been a little over eleven years since the UFC began its meteoric rise under the guidance of Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White.  Now with this fact in mind, imagine just how popular the sport could become in the next ten years. Crazy right?

The UFC is not only growing in popularity here in the United States, but the promotion has also featured very successful fight cards in Canada, Brazil, Japan, and The United Kingdom along with many others.  But perhaps the most persuasive argument for big brands to enter into MMA is the upcoming UFC fight card in China, on November 10th.

For example, what if the UFC gained popularity in China at the same rate as in Canada? This would increase the value of having your brand associated with the UFC, or a UFC fighter, drastically.  With over a billion people in the country, there is a very real possibility of China slowly becoming the UFC’s largest market.  With that said, no one can know exactly how quickly the sport will catch on, but as we have seen with countries, there is simply no stopping it.  Now is the time for big brands to get in on the “ground floor,” of what will slowly become the world’s most popular sport.    (Photo Credit)

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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5 Most Marketable MMA Fighters

1. Ronda Rousey

Sexy, smart, Olympian, world champion.  Talks the talk and walks the walk. ESPN Body Issue cover, enough said.  By far the most marketable and even under-marketed fighter in the world.

 2. GSP

With his next fight coming in November to unify the belts with interim champion Carlos Condit, GSP’s marketability will continue to rise.  If he wins against Condit, which I believe he will in dominant fashion, then there are only two other real interesting fights for him at 170lbs, Johnny Hendricks and Stockton’s own Nick Diaz.  If the champ can get through these two opponents, the fight that makes the most sense is the long talked about super-fight against the spider, Anderson Silva.  With his title as MMA’s pay-per-view king, clean image, and a possible record breaking super-fight with Silva, GSP nears the top of the list.

(2). Anderson Silva

Best in the world.  Sponsored by Nike. Greatest ever.

 3. Joseph Benavidez

Scheduled to headline UFC 152, where he will be fighting for the inaugural flyweight title, the marketability of Benavidez could potentially sky rocket.  He is already the reigning champion of the UFC’s twitter bonus ($5,000 awarded to the fighter who most creatively uses twitter), and according to just about everyone in the MMA community who isn’t named Demetrious Johnson, he will potentially the 125lb champion for a LONG LONG time.   Self proclaimed as the UFC’s most fashionable fighter, Benavidez is an exciting fan favorite who will also attract the Mexican demographic.

 4. Rory McDonald

The UFC’s most promising young prospect, the 23 year old McDonald promises to be a destroyer at 170lbs for years to come.  The well spoken, intelligent, and clean cut Canadian is a “GSP weight-class -change” away from the title.

5. Jon Jones

The only thing keeping Jon Jones from the top spot is his recent DUI arrest, and how he will handle the situation.  After his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas, Jones will have wiped the slate clean at light heavyweight.  What is next for Jones would be big money super fights with big marketability.

Future Top 5 Potential: Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez

Up and coming: Lance Palmer

A member of a legendary Ohio wrestling family, Palmer is a fourtime all-american wrestler training at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, CA with the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, and Joseph Benavidez.  Already possessing a professional record of 3-0, “The Party,” might soon be seeing a UFC contract come his way.  Fighting at 145lbs, Palmer has the wrestling credentials and natural athleticism to be a potential long time champion.  With a childhood spent wrestling bears (Seriously! Google it), Palmer, is a character who I predict would be absolutely loved by the fans.  Enormous marketability potential.

(Photo Credit)

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Business of MMA-The Basics

As the title suggests, this blog will discuss the business side of mixed martial arts as well as the sports future. I will also share my personal journey, and ideas, as I try to break into the MMA industry. This blog should be very interesting to MMA fans, businessmen and women, and sports related executives.

Who am I? My name is Michael Graham and I am currently a senior management major, enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno. Growing up I played all the typical sports a child enjoys, but it wasn’t until the age of 15 that I found the sport which would become one of my biggest passions. Being born and raised in Grass Valley, CA (about an hour Northwest of Sacramento), my first significant experience with MMA was when I saw an ad on the VS. Network for an upcoming title fight involving some guy from Sacramento. As a prideful Northern-Californian, I decided I would tune in and see what this sport was really all about.

Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz ended with the “California Kid” winning by guillotine choke, and I was already hooked on the sport. I spent every free moment of the next month watching past UFC, WEC, KOTC, and Pride fights online. As they say, the rest is history, and now both my brother and father are huge fans of the sport as well, with my younger brother (a high school senior), actively practicing the sport.

Since beginning college I have spent almost every waking moment thinking of how I can combine my passion for business with my passion for mixed martial arts, and turn this into a successful career.  Hope you enjoy my blog.  (Photo Credit)

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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