Professional sports exist not in a vacuum, but within the glare of media. During the 90s, when mixed martial arts got any mainstream media attention at all, it was of the negative, "human cockfighting" variety, an unfortunate occurence that has not entirely gone away.
Things slowly turned following the acquistion of the UFC by the Fertitta brothers and Dana White, in 2001. Mainstream media interest peaked with the entry of Brock Lesnar to the league, due largely to the interest he built through the WWE.
Now White says there is a new star, one that has never shone brighter in UFC history - Ronda Rousey.
“This is, without a doubt, the most media attention we’ve ever had leading up to a fight,” said White at Thursday’s UFC 157 press conference. “And when I talk about media attention, I’m talking about big time media. [Rousey] blows [Lesnar] out of the water. No fighter has ever fought in the UFC has had more attention than she has. It’s a fact.
“Honestly, going into this thing I didn’t know that would happen – that HBO and TIME Magazine and all these other outlets that never cover us would. And if they did, I didn’t think it was going to be positive. I thought it was going to be freak show. Nobody pulled the freak show card.”
What do you think UG? Has Ronda Rousey received more media attention than any UFC fighter before her?
Rousey defends her UFC women's bantamweight title against challenger Liz Carmouche live on PPV Saturday night. Catcht the weigh in today at 7:00 pm ET!
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