“If I’m the UFC welterweight champion, I’ve typecast myself into one spot. I know I have more talents than just my fighting. If I’m owned by the UFC, I’m owned by them. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just business. They’re not stupid. They don’t want their fighters going outside their control. With Strikeforce, they’re a great organization, but they’re going to understand that they’re going to benefit more from me being on MTV, from me writing articles for Fight Magazine. Me doing stuff outside the fight realm only helps them and helps their brand…Every other fighter in the world it seems like has this sense of, ‘OK, I got to go. I got to be in the UFC, and that’s going to be where I make my money.’ Well, dude, except for (Georges) St. Pierre, (Chuck) Liddell, (Randy) Couture and (Tito) Ortiz, nobody else is making big money. I just always knew that the way I was going to make my money was in the mainstream, and where I was going to make my money and be successful was by building this brand and be me on a big scale. Be a fighter. Be a personality, and I’m really still, every day, trying to do that. It’s a nonstop hustle.”
—Jason “Mayhem” Miller on the Sherdog Radio Network talking about finding success outside the UFC
As powerful and dominant as the UFC brand is, a few fighters — most notably Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano and Frank Shamrock — have been able to make names for themselves without the UFC marketing machine behind them. Unfortunately, I don’t think guys like Fabricio Werdum, Jake Shields and Robbie Lawler will ever reach that next level without the UFC. They just don’t have that “it” factor for lack of a better term, but guys like Mayhem Miller, King Mo, Bobby Lashley and Nick Diaz (if he ever gets his act somewhat together) all have a chance. Each one brings something unique to the table. They’re captivating in their own rights, and if they can find success and stardom without signing away their rights and likenesses, I say more power to them.
Image via All Elbows