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

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.

Continue reading “Travel Journal (#1): The Political Economy of Ultimate Fighting”