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The Business of Fighting

In the brutal yet exhilarating world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the balance between legacy and business is a delicate dance. For legends like, Jon Jones every fight, every opponent, and every decision is a complex interplay of preserving a storied legacy and making savvy business moves. In a candid revelation on The OverDogs Podcast, Jones opened up about this intricate balance.

“As far as these younger fighters, I look at people like Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich, they are amazing. But as I get older, I have to look at this as a business and not speak out of pride, my legacy, and my business,” Jones shared. This statement encapsulates the evolution of a fighter who has transitioned from the invincible young champion to a seasoned veteran, where every fight is a strategic move on the chessboard of his career.

Jones’ perspective is rooted in a career that has seen him conquer the light heavyweight division, becoming the youngest champion in UFC history at 23. With a record that boasts victories over legends like Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Daniel Cormier, Jones has etched his name in the annals of MMA greatness.

However, with age and experience comes a new set of challenges and considerations. The UFC, being the pinnacle of MMA, is not just a platform for athletic competition but a global business empire. Fighters are not just athletes but brands, and every fight is a business transaction with financial and legacy implications.

Statistics reveal the financial evolution of the sport. According to Forbes, the UFC was valued at $7 billion in 2019, a testament to its global appeal and profitability. Fighters like Conor McGregor have leveraged their brand, with McGregor earning over $180 million in 2020, according to Forbes, making him the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Jones is no stranger to this reality. “I have to fight people that the mainstream public gets excited about,” he stated on the podcast. In a world where Pay-Per-View buys and ticket sales translate to revenue, the choice of opponent is a strategic business decision.

Expert opinions echo Jones’ sentiments. Renowned MMA analyst, Joe Rogan, has often discussed the business aspect of fighting on his popular podcast. “It’s a show as much as it is a sport. The fighters that understand this reality are the ones that make the big bucks,” Rogan opined in one of his episodes.

The implications of this business-centric approach are multifaceted. For fighters, it means a shift in focus from merely showcasing martial arts skills to becoming entertainers and business entities. The likes of McGregor and Jones have mastered this art, blending in-cage prowess with out-of-cage charisma and business acumen.

Photo Source: BKFC.Com

For the sport of MMA, it signifies an evolution from niche combat sport to mainstream entertainment spectacle. The UFC’s growth is tied to its ability to produce not just exciting fights but global superstars who transcend the sport.

In conclusion, as Jon Jones navigates this delicate balance, he exemplifies the modern MMA fighter – a warrior in the cage and a businessman outside of it. His choices, influenced by the dual pressures of legacy and business, will continue to shape his career and the broader landscape of MMA, underscoring the evolution of the sport into a global entertainment and business powerhouse.

For those eager to explore more engaging moments from this episode, please head on over to, or watch the full episode below.

E5 – S1 JON JONES opens up about life, UFC295 w/ Stipe Miocic & UFC 293

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