MEDIA & BUSINESS: UFC and Twitter a perfect fit in lead-up to UFC 205 announcement, Cruz color commentary reviews, Cyborg controversy

By Robert Vallejos, MMATorch Specialist

Conor McGregor (Photo credit Gary A. Vasquez © USA Today)


In 2016 if you are a professional athlete, it is very likely that you have a presence on Twitter; it is also very likely that your Twitter account is boring, unless of course you are a UFC fighter.

The month of September has provided a few examples of UFC fighters using Twitter as a platform for both promotion and public negotiation.

For a brief moment on Sept. 20 UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez whipped the MMA world into a frenzy when he took to Twitter to call out Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.



However, it didn’t take long for UFC President Dana White to rain on the parade.

Predictably McGregor would not let a social media moment pass without his input the next day.


It turned out White was likely playing it coy and knew this was in the works or likely. Regardless, the fact remains that the UFC can and regularly does produce compelling entertainment via Twitter. The McGregor-Alvarez posturing comes a few days after UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier and top contender Anthony Johnson had an even more entertaining albeit less newsworthy social media exchange.

The candid use of Twitter by UFC fighters makes logical sense in larger framework of the current MMA landscape. Unlike NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB players, UFC fighters are not employees of a major sports team, nor are they represented by any form of players association or union.

While many correctly argue that the current system puts a disproportionate amount of power in the UFC’s hands; these conditions also allow for the unfiltered thoughts of UFC fighters to reach the public on a regular basis. Nothing in our current society is as immediate, uncensored, and readily available to the public than Twitter.

The modern athlete may be trying to build a personal brand with the help of social media, but how many of them actually sell their product in the “twittersphere” the way that UFC fighters do? In the upcoming NBA season Kevin Durant will use Twitter to sell Nike gear endorsed by him, but it is highly unlikely that he will use the platform to attract interest and possibly receive a championship series against Lebron James.

The world of MMA is a much different place. In a climate where being popular is as important as a fight record, self-promotion take upmost importance The UFC is constantly fighting a battle to penetrate mainstream sports; in the case of social media they are leaving other leagues in the dust.


Speaking of fighters expanding their own brands, UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz made his color commentary debut during UFC Fight Night 95. Working alongside play-by-play announcer Jon Anik, Cruz’s performance was well-received by some discerning critics.

Ariel Helwani of and Chamatkar Sandhu of were very pleased with the presentation.

Longtime WWE and current boxing/professional wrestling announcer Jim Ross also shared in the applause for the commentary.

The singular criticism of Cruz seemed to revolve around the sheer volume of words used. As pointed out by Luke Thomas of

This is a fair criticism. While Cruz did an overall great job, at times the broadcast was so detailed that it would have been appropriate for radio rather than television. Otherwise, Cruz comes across like the polished professional that he has evolved into. His style is a drastically different one than the hyperbolic Joe Rogan, but it is an easy listen for fight fans.

Daniel Cormier will handle color commentary duties for UFC Fight Night 96.


The predictable knockout of Lina Lansberg by Cris Cyborg at UFC Fight Night 95 was the culmination of a dramatic week of updates on Cyborg’s quest to make the 140 pound weight limit.

The future of Cyborg and how the UFC should handle the unique fighter is a major hot button in MMA circles. Chuck Mindenhall of penned a must-read piece on the subject, “It’s time for the UFC to stop treating ‘Cyborg’ like a sorority pledge.”

As the title suggests, Mindenhall brings to the forefront some of the delicate issues that the Cyborg “dilemma” illuminates.

Mindenhall pulls no punches, while sifting through the nuance that Cyborg’s UFC tenure (or lack thereof) has brought to MMA discourse.

To read what the MMATorch staff thinks of the Cyborg situation, check out our recent Roundtables and a very thoughtful column by Jason Amadi.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS “MEDIA & BUSINESS” COLUMN: Bellator’s Sonnen signing doesn’t change their identity, Cyborg about to make history, what has MMA become in 2016

(Robert Vallejos writes a new Specialist column for MMATorch titled “Media & Business” focused on, you guessed it, the media coverage of MMA and the business side of MMA. He is fascinated by the presentation, business decisions, media strategy, and press coverage of both UFC and MMA as a whole, and will bring that curiosity to explore and delve into that side of MMA to his weekly Specialist column here at MMATorch. He explains his approach: “As a sport in its relative infancy, MMA does not receive the same level of scrutiny and informed analysis from the sports media as other more established entities. This is why it is vital for independent outlets such MMATorch to grow, while featuring a variety of voices. Unlike mainstream outlets, MMATorch is not beholden to any organization. Therefore I believe it is essential for individuals such as myself to explain not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ of MMA.”)

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