Travel Journal (#2): Viva Las Vegas

This post is about the first leg of my U.S. trip doing research for my book, “The Political Economy of Ultimate Fighting”. It covers events from 3 October 2017 to 9 October 2017.

You can read my first journal entry explaining the project here.


My first destination on this trip, not including Shanghai where I had a 20-hour layover, was Las Vegas. It was a last minute addition to my itinerary. Originally I was supposed to start in New York, but when I saw there were still tickets available to UFC 216, I figured: why not start the journey with a live event in the fight capital of the world?

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Scrutinising the UFC’s Response to Mark Hunt

For MMA fans that haven’t been living under a rock over the last few days, it’s no secret that Mark Hunt has, once again, gone on a public tirade against the UFC. This time, it is to protest the its decision to withdraw him from his upcoming bout against Marcin Tybura, which would otherwise have headlined the UFC’s return to Sydney next month. It’s an issue that warrants scrutiny, not just because it shines further light on the volatile relationship between the UFC and one of its biggest Australian stars, but also for the promotion’s inconsistent approach to fighter health and safety.

You can read the rest of this article at MMASucka.

Travel Journal (#1): The Political Economy of Ultimate Fighting

I was 13 years old when I first heard of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A friend of mine sent me a link to a highlight video featuring a series of rotund men trading haymakers in the centre of an octagonal cage. Thousands of predominantly Caucasian spectators cheered on the brutality in the background, whilst a solemn-faced referee in black pants and a polo shirt paced anxiously a few metres away from the action. Emblazoned on the canvass floor were three huge letters: U F C.

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Bellator is Gaining Ground on the UFC, Last Weekend was Proof

Over the weekend, the MMA Gods smiled down on fight fans.

On Friday night, the UFC’s held it’s first show in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ since 2015 showcasing a number of thrilling contests on the main card. On the following night, Bellator rolled into San Jose, California. They hosted an event stacked with UFC veterans, homegrown commodities and blue-chip prospects.

So, what were the highlights? And, how does this affect the ongoing battle for MMA supremacy between the two promotions? Let’s dive in.

You can read the rest of this article at MMASucka.

Navigating the UFC Middleweight Logjam

When Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre meet in the Octagon at UFC 217, at the iconic Madison Square Garden, it will mark a nearly two year period since a legitimate number one contender will have fought for the UFC middleweight championship.

The last time this occurred was in December 2015 at UFC 194. On that night challenger Luke Rockhold (T)KO’d then-champion Chris Weidman in the fourth round. An immediate rematch was slated for UFC 199 six months later, but fate intervened.

You can view the rest of this article at MMASucka.

No Turning Back after May-Mac

This article was originally published on Fight News Australia.


After nearly a year of trash talk, a bizarre media tour and more twists and turns than anyone could have predicted, the fight that was meant to be impossible is now less than a week away. UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA) will make his professional boxing debut against the undefeated, 15-time world champion Floyd Mayweather (49-0) at T Mobile Arena on August 26th, in what will likely be the biggest combat sports event in history.

The fight marks a turning point for the UFC, who have broken convention in allowing McGregor to compete outside the octagon.

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The Cyborg Chronicles

Chris “Cyborg” Justino was patient and methodical, stalking Tonya Evinger with leg kicks and punches for two and a half round before four crushing knees brought the game but outmatched Evinger to the canvass and forced referee Mike Beltran to intervene and stop the carnage.

The fight lasted longer than some had expected. Evinger, a bantamweight giving Cyborg a ten-pound weight advantage, was a virtual unknown amongst mainstream MMA fans before Saturday and had never competed in the Octagon despite the 135lb division being the UFC’s most established women’s weight class. To make matters worse, she’d taken the fight on short notice, serving as a replacement for the Australian Megan Anderson, who pulled out of the event in late June.

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