Saying Mixed Martial Arts has changed in the past several years may be a bit of an understatement at this point. Social Media has changed the sport in so many ways, good and bad. Don’t believe me? Well, exhibit A, Dillon Danis…
If I told you that an unranked 2-0 Bellator fighter who has not fought since the summer of 2019 would become the most viral and talked about fighter in the sport, would you believe me? The answer is if it was 15 years ago, I may have questioned my own sanity. But we are in 2023 and everything is different.
Views, likes and engagement online seem to carry more weight than a fighter’s actual abilities in this new era of MMA.
How has Danis stayed relevant?
Dillon Danis has managed to stay as relevant as ever, while being as inactive as ever. He is expected to take on Logan Paul in a boxing match at the Misfits Boxing “Prime Card” on October 14th. Danis has uploaded numerous photos online of Logan Paul’s fiancé, Nina Agdal, in an attempt to promote their upcoming fight. While those actions have gotten Danis shadow banned multiple times from Musk’s new “X”, it has also raised his popularity and presence to an all-time high.
Imagine being a fighter, not fighting, yet you have reached an all time level of fame and popularity? That’s social media for ya! If we go back to just less than a year ago, there was a far different tune surrounding Dillon Danis. It is safe to say that he was becoming the center piece of many jokes in the MMA community, among those, his inability to show up for fights.
The fact that Danis has gone from bad guy to good guy in the span of just months, while being inactive, proves not only how much people hate Logan Paul. But again, just how crucial social media has become to a fighter.
Is being a great Fighter enough anymore?
The days of MMA’s infrastructure relying solely on a fighter’s performance are simply gone forever. You can be the best up-and-coming fighter in the sport, but does anybody really know who you are?
To many, Conor McGregor is the biggest star in MMA history, and Jon Jones is the greatest fighter in MMA history. Who is more liked/recognized? The better fighter? Or the more popular one? The numbers would scream McGregor, who is indeed the biggest name in UFC history. But is he the BEST fighter of all time? Not exactly.
Belal Muhammad is unbeaten in his last 10 fights, Colby Covington has 1 win since 2020… Yet the UFC has given Colby, the far more polarizing and known fighter, the title shot over the guy who can’t stop winning.
Social media certainly has its pros and cons. Regardless, this is the direction in which the sport is headed. Unfortunately for the fighters, especially old school ones, they may have to adapt or fade away into the MMA ether.