The Character of UFC Fighters.

I’ve had the opportunity to cover four UFC fighters for the Safe Auto Fight Team (Stephen Bonnar, Travis Browne, Dominick Cruz, & Jake Ellenberger). Their team consists of elite MMA fighters who will represent Safe Auto in the biggest MMA events. In the past I have covered and interviewed hundreds of college football and basketball players as well as a handful of NBA, NHL, and NFL players. While many young kids idolize these athletes, for the most part, the athletes’ brains are not proportionate to the size of their big heads.

The extreme popularity of the UFC was about the only aspect of the sport I was familiar with before my video interviews with the fighters. There have been UFC pay-per-views with a buy rate of 700,000 + (around $35,000,000 in revenue). My assumption was that these fighters would be extremely similar in terms of their personalities to the other athletes that I have covered, the only difference being that if I asked a question that pissed them off, they could kill me with their left pinky… Little did I know that I was in for a pleasant surprise!

All of the fighters were extremely cooperative in terms of their willingness to answer questions, show off their training regimen, and sign autographs (which is extremely time consuming). These were the first athletes, since covering high school sports, that I found to be truly excited and grateful to be in front of the cameras and share their stories.

6’7”, 250-pound heavyweight Travis Browne approached me after we were done filming and asked, “When do you think I’ll be able to see the finished video?” To date, a paid athlete has never asked me that question. Browne then proceeded to ask for my name. I was unsure of why he asked for my name at the end of the shoot, however, to my delight, he gave Safe Auto and myself a shout-out on Twitter!

After the morning shoot, I drove an hour and a half north of San Diego to Lake Forest, California to film Jake Ellenberger. My GPS stopped working when I was only half way there, causing me to be fifteen minutes late. After apologizing profusely to the fighter, Ellenberger interrupted by saying, “no big deal, I’ve been looking forward to this shoot. What do you need me to do?” Even though Ellenberger was only planning on answering questions that day, “The Juggernaut” trained for thirty minutes so I could have b-roll to go along with the interview.

Being able to cover a relatively young sport such as the UFC was a pleasure. The media coverage is small compared to the sports enormous fan base. Fighters hear their peers talk trash on YouTube videos rather than mainstream television. Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz offered our camera a glance of his doctor removing stitches from his hand (I kindly declined). Heavyweight Travis Browne granted me access to go into the cage when he sparred. Jake Ellenberger ran to the lobby of his training facility to lower the music when I realized the blaring speakers would be too loud for the interview.

The gestures made by all of the fighters that day were extremely generous. The fact that these professional athletes made the extra effort to make the shoot successful impressed me greatly. These fighters are by far the scariest looking athletes that I’ve covered to date, yet the nicest and most accessible. Hopefully this will be the case in the future, as the media coverage will certainly continue to grow.

Jason Parks is the Founder of
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