Tag Archives: Michael J.L. Graham

Jones vs. Sonnen

With many controversial opinions still swirling around LHW champ Jon Jones turning down a short notice fight with Chael Sonnen, I figured I would offer my opinion on both signs of the argument with business in mind.

The main point of contention is that as champion, Jon Jones should be willing to fight anyone at any time, let alone a “out of shape” middle-weight stepping up on eight days notice. Many people who criticized Jones have failed to consider the financial implications for Jones rather than all of the other parties involved. Jones is the best talent in MMA history, on a meteoric rise, and was recently just sponsored by NIKE.  MMA is a sport where anything can happen, and a loss to Sonnen would be a HUGE setback to the champions career.  There has also been rumors that Sonnen had known about Dan Henderson’s injury for weeks, and had been preparing for Jones.  This is another thing to consider even though I do not believe that two weeks is enough time for Chael to adequately prepare for all that Jones brings into the octagon.

I have to admit that I am a big Chael P. Sonnen supporter, and would love to have seen this fight.  If I was Jon Jones I would have taken this fight in a second, but then again I do not have a blossoming career and millions of future dollars on the line.  I understand both sides, and we still might see this match-up down the road.

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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Fighter Pay

A hot topic of controversy in MMA, and specifically surrounding the UFC, is fighter pay.  Some of the media has shined a spotlight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and what they believe to be an unfair and low pay scale.  I believe that this criticism of the UFC is absolutely flawed and should be reconsidered.

First of all, nobody, including UFC management, is forcing any of the athletes to fight, despite claims that the organization is a monopoly, which it isn’t (topic for another time).  People choose to be fighters and are not forced into the profession, just as a grocery clerk isn’t forced to be a grocery clerk and a bus driver isn’t forced to be a bus driver.  With that said, if they pay was as horrible as some of the media make it out to be, then fighters would chose to switch to one of the many other professions are world has to offer.

Secondly, the UFC only releases the base pay for fighters as required by the athletic commission of the state that the event was held in.  This means that no one, besides the fighters and their managers, actually know what they are paid.  For example, Nick Diaz was recently fined for testing positive for marijuana metabolites after his fight with Carlos Condit.  When that fine came down it was released that Diaz had received a $300,000 “showing up to the press conference” bonus.  The UFC has turned many fighters into millionaires over the years, and that doesn’t even include the large amounts of money that top fighters are paid by their sponsors.

(Photo Credit)

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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Jones vs. Any LHW Doesn’t Make Sense

UFC on FOX 4 is coming up on August 4th, with the main card featuring two lightheavyweight bouts.  The card shows promise, and Dana White made it even more interesting when he made the statement that essentially whoever looks the most impressive, will get the next shot at the LHW belt.  This statement has left pretty much everyone in the MMA community, including LHW champion Jon Jones, scratching their heads.

Let us assume that Jon Jones defeats Dan Henderson in September, which most think he will (but I would never bet against Hendo with that legendary right hand), there is not a single match-up at LHW that makes sense for the current champ.  There is not a man left at 205lbs that can even challenge Jones, especially not the four men involved in the August 4th “number one contender” fights.  He has systematically destroyed and finished EVERY one of them! 

Jones vs. Vera:  Jones finished Vera in the first with an elbow that broke his cheekbone.

Jones vs. Bader:  Guillotine in round #2.

Jones vs. Shogun:  Brutal TKO in the third from knees and punches.

Jones vs. Machida:  Chokes Machida unconscious standing and drops the former champion’s body to the canvas in the second.

If Dana White follows through and makes one of these fights, I believe he will be making a big mistake in regards to Jones’ legacy and economically.  I believe that virtually no one will want to watch that fight, which will in turn lose the UFC a significant amount of money compared to, let’s say, Jones fighting a big name at heavyweight.  (Photo Credit)

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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What can Businessmen Learn from Fighters?

As the business world continues to change, there are many things that the modern businessman can learn from observing the world, and lifestyle, surrounding MMA fighters. Recently in my Management 491 college course, we watched a keynote address given by founder Gary Vaynerchuck.  While watching this I realized that there are two major things that businessmen can take away from the professional mma fighter. 

1.)  It’s all about the people

Whether win or lose, when a fighter’s performance does not please the fans, they immediately face heavy scrutiny from the media and UFC President Dana White.  As Gary Vaynerchuck explained in his speech, those businessmen who are the most successful in the near future will all place extreme importance on the customer as a person, and one-on-one interaction with that customer.  Similar to if a fighter does not please their fans, if a businessman doesn’t please their customers, they will not only face scrutiny but can possibly even go out of business, a fighter’s version of being cut from the UFC.

2.) Hard work pays off

At any given time, the top five fighters in each weight class are almost always those who are known to be the hardest of workers.  With today’s social media and other technologies it has become even easier for businessmen to become lazy when in fact, they should be doing the exact opposite.  Social media gives businessmen a chance to reach out to and connect with their customers like never before.  With this incredible opportunity businessmen should be working even harder in an attempt to connect personally with most, if not all, of their customers.   (Photo Credit)

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Nike Vapor Strobes for MMA

Not very many people outside of athletic trainers and professional have even heard of the Nike Sparq Vapor Strobe Goggles.  As seen in the video above, this technology can take the performance of the world’s greatest athletes, and raise it up a notch.  The primary use for goggles is to increase reaction, focus, and all around awareness while participating in athletic competition.

This technology could possibly tremendously beneficial to MMA fighters.  MMA is all about speed and timing, while still being aware o, and defending, your opponents strikes which can come from all sorts of different angles.  While we watch people like Anderson Silva and Edson Barboza knock people out with dazzling kicks that seemingly come out of nowhere, the Sparq Goggles may just be what fighters are looking for to help improve their awareness of similar strikes in the octagon.

The goggles could also help fighters with their offensive abilities.  If fighters use the goggles while hitting mitts or the focus bag, I believe that their timing, speed, and punching accuracy would be greatly improved.  It would be very interesting to see the improvements in some of the top fighters, after using the goggles for an extended period of time.

This is also just another reason why Nike should enter the market.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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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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