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Mirror, Mirror: UFC Fighters and Their Sports Star Counterparts


(Oh, you said you have a *flaggy* tattoo? I must have misheard you.) 

By Nathan Smith

During a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dana White said, “Globally, we’re already bigger than the NFL.” From a global stand point that may be true, but in the Pulp Fiction-esque United States, the NFL is still Marsellus Wallace. The UFC may never gain the notoriety that the NFL has in America but stand-out fighters continue to ink major product endorsement deals. Anderson Silva (Burger King, Budweiser), Georges St. Pierre (Gatorade, UnderArmor) and Jon Jones (Nike) are paving the way to success for future mixed martial artists. Although big-time corporate sponsorship for fighters is in its infancy, the other major professional sports leagues have seen their athletes gain almost as much notoriety outside the lines as within.

The UFC was purchased by Zuffa just over a decade ago and has been charging towards global domination ever since. Sure, the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL (well, maybe not the NHL) playoffs and championship contests annihilate the UFC ratings-wise but the premier MMA organization is gaining at a rapid pace. Take into account the combined several hundred years of history the 4 “major” professional leagues hold and it is glaringly apparent that the UFC and its stars are closing the gap like a fat dude towards a parked Roach Coach.

Comparing the UFC’s ratings and popularity with the aforementioned leagues is somewhat asinine and it would not be fair or rational to compare athletes from other sports with UFC fighters – but you have visited Cagepotato.com. We have never been accused of being fair or rational and matching fighters with their counterparts from around the world of other sporting organizations seemed as logical as a booze-filled headset.

Anderson Silva and Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan has become the benchmark to which all athletes are measured, although the comparisons have transcended far beyond the realm of athletics. Any activity or event draws comparisons to #23 (or #45 whatever). From Ken Jennings being the Michael Jordan of Jeopardy, to Joey Chestnut being the Michael Jordan of gluttony or Peter North being the Michael Jordan of male climax volume, Jordan is synonymous with superiority. In every single poll taken in the last decade regarding the “Top 100 NBA players in History” the battle is for #2 through #100. Michael Jordan is considered the greatest of all time in his medium (and I am not talking about minor league baseball).  Anderson Silva, with his perfect 15-0 record and 10 consecutive title defenses in the UFC, has done things that may never be accomplished again in the history of mixed martial arts. Some day a fighter may come along (if he hasn’t already *foreshadowing*) and surpass Silva’s records but until his numbers fall, Anderson Silva is the Michael Jordan of MMA – period.

Georges St. Pierre and Derek Jeter

GSP is the focal point of Canadian MMA. He is the big fish in a larger-less-populated pond and the entire weight of a nation rests on his shoulders every single time he enters the octagon. Derek Jeter plays in the biggest media market in the world and has been given the moniker “The Captain” for the most storied franchise in the history of team sports. There is a lot of pressure to perform for both world champions and they are viewed with a certain amount of reverence by fans, media, and contemporaries. Both men have graced the covers of athletic magazines as well as high fashion publications and in regards to their female fans, let’s just call them “popular.”

Jon Jones and Lebron James

It has been covered on CP that there is a thin line between love and hate in regards to Jon Jones and the same can be said for Lebron James after “The Decision.” Both men are loved and hated regardless of their stellar performances during competition. Both men are just entering the recognizable primes of their careers and have already captured championships. Add in the fact that both men are genetic freaks compared to their colleagues and it appears that the dominance of Bones and King James has only just begun. Maybe?

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Terrell Owens

Not that long ago, both Rampage and T.O. were at the top of their professions. Rampage was sporting the UFC light-heavyweight strap and T.O. was widely perceived as the best wide receiver in the NFL. Both men were flamboyant, arrogant and a bit unstable. While Rampage did it with his trash talking combined with a John Candy inspired freeway escapade, Owens did it with his touchdown celebrations and an accidental overdose.  Now, Jackson is on the last fight of his UFC contract and T.O. is desperately trying to make the roster on an NFL team. How the mighty have fallen.

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linzhanfd- August 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm
http://brk.to/luckygrip
McLuvin- August 16, 2012 at 9:44 am
Good article
Few issues.
Pension and penchant are not interchangeable.
Controvertial?
I'm also pretty sure that firestorm had a theatrical run.
The12ozCurls- August 16, 2012 at 9:51 am
Ya - Firestorm was released on Friday and you could rent it at Blockbuster by Monday.
Cornerman- August 16, 2012 at 7:17 am
Anderson Silva got passed over at the Olympic closing ceremony for a wretched old Pele, what a disgrace when they said Pele is the most iconic sports figure in Brazil. "FVKC you guys Anderson and Junior!!!!" the IOC whispered under it's out dated breathe.
RSparrow- August 16, 2012 at 6:44 am
Chael = Pete Rose. Reem = Bonds. Bones = Dhalsum. Cody McKenzie = Terrible. Brian stann = The National Anthem
HaterSlayer- August 16, 2012 at 4:25 am
I think Chad Johnson = Chael Sonnen would have fit better
Mr_Misanthropy- August 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Alistair Overeem = Barry Bonds
Mr_Misanthropy- August 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm
Roy Nelson = William "Refrigerator" Perry
RwilsonR- August 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm
Demetrius Johnson = Gabby Douglas
bitteralex- August 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm
I would say Fedor and Gretzky... both were the G.O.A.T. in their respective sports but both competed in more obscurity compared to their colleagues... only educated fans know how amazingly they truly were
Capital- August 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm
Ps, just like Baseball...who the fuck plays, or like that crappysport outside the states?
Thats right, no one, guess wy?
Se belove!
Capital- August 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm
Theres a reason wy NFL is so big in USA(and only there), its becouse its sucha stupid, boring game that it fits the average, retarded american perfect!
Its the game for slowminded hicks!
KrmtDfrog- August 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm
The difference between aj pzfladklnjkgklski and sonnen is that sonnen is generally well respected behind the scenes by many of the other fighters. "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less." - his own manager.
Dog Dicks Magoo- August 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm
I love you CP but these articles are fucking stupid.
El Guapo- August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm
Hahhhh-kee. HA!-kee. Hockey. I do believe I may have possibly heard of this hockey you speak of...
Also, congrats to Pen Fifteen for his soon-to-be comment of the week victory.
mynameisalsoben- August 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm
Anderson Silva = Usain Bolt
SethF- August 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm
@Goog

*begin jerkoff hand gesture* You make an excellent point about how we should be putting asterisks next to Jon Jones, Lawrence Taylor and every other phenomenal athlete who wasn't an angel outside of the sport, because clearly that means their accomplishments in the sport mean less somehow. Also let's put an asterisk next to Anderson Silva's undefeated UFC record saying that he lost outside of the UFC, in case literally anyone on the planet cares. *makes explosion hand gesture, thus ending the hypothetical jerkoff*
The12ozCurls- August 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm
With your *jerkoff hand gesture* - by any chance was it done like the "Slow Jerk?" Because if it was, I am telling the boss.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UJ9Ggs3Dkk
J.Jones- August 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm
*checks Goog's pulse*

*stands up and faces horrified audience*

..."He's dead."
Fletch the V Stretch- August 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm
12 oz - Great article. Comparing JDS to Pavel (who in my opinion is the best player in the NHL and never gets talked about) absolutely made my day. Great write up. Wish you would've chose someone else besides Jeter for GSP though.
The12ozCurls- August 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm
GSP & Jeter are 2 similar to ignore. And I agree with Datsyuk even though I am a homer and fairly partial to Corey Perry. How do you think Mike Trout made the list? LOL.
Fletch the V Stretch- August 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm
While I do see the similarities, I just am not a huge Jeter fan and I am a GSP fan. So, naturally I wanted someone different but you are correct. Don't mention it bro, keep it up. You can always count on me to comment and input my opinion.
The12ozCurls- August 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm
BTW, Thanks for the love.
Between writing it, doing all the pictures, and adding all the hyper-links - I lost track on the amount of hours it took.
Fletch the V Stretch- August 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm
It was a great read. Great idea for an article for sure. Fedor Emilianko = Babe Ruth. HAHA
Pen Fifteen- August 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Mike Goldberg=Marv Albert. One bites ass, the other sucks ass.
jasonmoles- August 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm
Nice work, but I'm not sold on Chael's counterpart.
The12ozCurls- August 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmJT1hTjE_Y&feature=related
The_Dead_Cow- August 15, 2012 at 11:57 am
Royce Gracie & Wayne Gretzky? This may be an over statement considering Gretzky dominated his sport in a way on one else has.
The_Dead_Cow- August 15, 2012 at 11:59 am
*no*
Goog- August 15, 2012 at 11:57 am
Anderson Silva has four losses. But as we've seen from every nuthugging website... if it didn't happen in the UFC, it didn't happen.

Interesting that the opposite is true for the criminal element amongst fighters - you can get DUI's, go on destructive monster truck runs through a neighborhood, you name it. As long as you're under the UFC banner and can sell PPV's... those didn't happen, either.
Onan- August 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm
Yes he has four losses; the last of which was over six years ago. What's your point? Since entering the MMA equivalent of the NFL or NBA (the major leagues) he hasn't lost. I noticed that among your list of ignored criminal acts, money laundering in connection with mortgage fraud was conspicuously absent. I'm sure it was just an oversight on your part.
Maine Blazer- August 15, 2012 at 11:56 am
Bob Sapp and Jose Canseco... both started their careers as respected athletes (that felt weird to type), but have since, well, 'fallen off'
Fletch the V Stretch- August 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm
Great addition - comment of the week
paperplane- August 15, 2012 at 11:53 am
Sidney Crosby is from nova scotia. He played junior hockey in Quebec.
Whitemare- August 15, 2012 at 11:39 am
I would Compare GSP with Sidney Crosby and not just because they are both from Quebec
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