What I’m Thankful for This Year (In the World of MMA)

Friday, November 25th, 2011 by Tony Reid

It is that time of year again. The leaves have turned all sorts of shades of yellow and orange, pumpkins are everywhere, hell even some sweet Pilgrim and Indian propaganda can be found if you look hard enough (and live in a small town where its still acceptable to have your high school mascot resemble the Washington Redskin). The turkey has been slow cooked overnight and now it’s made its way to the table along with the mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy and all the sweets you could possibly eat. Before I end up on the couch half asleep, trying to keep my eyes open long enough to watch a few minutes of the game, or worse, stuck at the kiddie table, now is a good time to reflect and acknowledge what I are thankful for during this great season. Yet, only one thing is on my mind. MMA of course! Here are a few things I am thankful for in the world of combat sports this year…

1. The UFC’s Deal on FOX-This is the most important development in mixed martial arts since Zuffa’s purchase of the UFC from SEG. It will open the door to an exponential amount of new fans, casual and otherwise. The great athletes we have known for years will start to become household names all around the world. Soon Cain Velasquez won’t be able to walk into the supermarket without being bum rushed by rabid fans. The monetary aspect of the deal can’t go unmentioned either.  We all have heard the numbers by now and they are staggering. The exposure gained will put the UFC and the sport of MMA right up there with the big three in baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA) and football (NFL). I am still drinking the Kool Aid that Reverend Dana White is serving in saying that MMA will one day be the biggest sport in the world. This deal moves the sport toward that direction in a big, big way.

2. Upcoming Big Fights- I can’t wait to see GSP vs. Nick Diaz, Brock vs. Overeem, and of course Chael and Anderson II, whenever it happens. The UFC is the go to organization and they are making many of our dream fights a reality. This pattern will only continue and be enhanced moving forward. I wait with anticipation for great fights like these, and I am thankful that our sport has the greatest athletes in the world competing in the truest sport the world has ever seen. Thanks Uncle Dana!

3. The great champions of the UFC- I know, I know, we shouldn’t put athletes on pedicures, er, pedestals but I am proud to say that the champions of the UFC (Dos Santos, Jones, Silva, GSP, Edgar, etc.) all seem like really good people. You don’t hear about them being arrested on drug charges, DUI’s, beating their wives, girlfriends and the like. They won’t be embarrassing themselves on national television. They all are well spoken, educated dudes. They all carry themselves in a very respectful and professional manner and for that I am thankful.

4. Fighter Benefits- By benefits I am not just talking about the monumental heath care coverage program the UFC has set up. By benefits I am also talking about growing fight purses and bonuses, major sponsorship deals, extracurricular activities like movies, TV and other opportunities that fighters would not have dreamed about just a few short years ago. These athletes deserve the accolades and spoils more than athletes in any other sport out there.

5. Options- Whether it is the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, DREAM, BAMMA or even a regional or local promotion, there are so many viable options that I can’t help but be thankful. Every weekend, if not every day, you can find fresh new, hot off the press content to quench your thirst for the fight game. Check out FOX, SPIKE, HD Net and a number of other television channels as well as a seemingly endless variety of online options with top tier sites like MMA Junkie, Sherdog, MMA Fighting, MMA Weekly, etc. For this daily fix I am thankful.

Most importantly, I am thankful to be able to be involved, on so many levels; in something I am so passionate about (this sport, dummies). It is very gratifying to be able to force my opinions on so many unsuspecting people through TapouT and MMA Worldwide Magazines and on this great website of mine (www.rattling-the-cage.com if you haven’t noticed). For these things I truly am grateful. Seasons Beatings my friends!