The State of MMA – Guest Contributor, Robert Wu

Fighters have evolved considerably since the earliest UFC events in the US, and continue to evolve. Today’s successful “mixed martial artists” will have cross-trained in both striking and grappling. Those that do not, regardless of their background, may suffer the fate of Brock Lesnar, who learned the same lesson as Coleman. In early 2008, at UFC 81, NCAA division I champion and physical specimen Lesnar dominated Frank Mir but erred due to inexperience and is caught in a knee bar. Sixteen months later, Lesnar once again met Mir but came in with a game plan better suited for his own advantages and defeated Mir by TKO. Mir himself has evolved since his loss to Mir and once again contends for the UFC Heavyweight title on May 26th at UFC 146.


Those of us that enjoy combat sports live in an exciting time. We have top fighters who will have cross-trained from a young age. Current UFC Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Jon Jones seems to be the complete package, having stellar striking and kicking skills plus successes in wrestling at the high school, state and JUCO levels. He has used these skills plus his 84.5-inch reach to steamroll through a series of UFC light heavyweight fighters considered to be the elite in the division. He is only 24 years old and will continue to improve.


We also have an organization that is fan-friendly, today’s UFC now owned by Zuffa, LLC. It is at the moment the dominant promotional company in the MMA industry and works hard to maintain that position. It makes its fans care about its fighters, it educates its increasing fan base and it works hard to avoid any questions about its legitimacy and credibility, whether from performance enhancing drugs or influenced judges. Most importantly, it keeps its fans happy and interested. Will the boxing world ever see Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather, Jr.? Who knows? It has been surprisingly difficult to put together such an obviously lucrative fight. No such problem in the UFC, which continues to put together fights that its fan base is happy to put down $45 to see on pay-per-view.Jon "Bones" Jones with fans - UFC 10...


Somewhere out there, there is a fighter that can beat Jon Jones. It is hard to picture right now but it will happen one day. Right now I imagine that I will continue to contribute $45 to the industry each time Jon Jones defends his title because I love today’s version of combat sports, generally referred to as mixed martial arts (MMA) and because the UFC makes me care.


Rob is originally from NYC and currently works for tier-one management consulting firm.  He and SMB Contributor Richard Lee were classmates at Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon.  They both share love for MMA and WWE.

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