The UFC has cultivated some of the biggest sports stars in the world, including Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. UFC president Dana White recently explained why fighters so often become superstars.
White addressed the topic ahead of this Saturday’s UFC 248 card in Las Vegas (via via Las Vegas Review-Journal).
“To do what these guys do and these girls do, to be a professional fighter, there’s nothing like… Everybody who goes out and competes and performs in sports as part of a team,” White said. “You always want to perform at the highest level and everything else, but when you lose, you lose as a team.
“And in this sport, you have the potential to literally get your a** whopped in front of the whole world by yourself,” White added. “There’s no other sport like this. There’s nothing like it, that’s why I always say fighters are the most famous athletes on earth.”
To elaborate further, White compared New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady to martial arts legend Bruce Lee.
“Look at Tom Brady right, [a] massive star in the US, but in lots of parts of the world, people don’t know who he is,” White said. “Bruce Lee died in 1971, kids still know who he is today. Fighting is different than any other sport.”
UFC 248 takes place this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In the headlining bout, former Olympian Yoel Romero will fight middleweight champion Israel Adesanya for the 185-pound title.
Also, the UFC’s first Chinese champion Weili Zhang will attempt to defend her strawweight belt for the first time against the former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the co-main event.
Dana White is no doubt hoping that some of these fighters — most likely the champions Israel Adesanya and Weili Zhang — have the potential to become global superstars.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/4/2020.