With Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren becoming the first trade between mixed martial arts promotions making waves in the news, it is important to notice how each promotion is handling their new acquisitions. The fighters are well-known for dominating the weight-classes they come from but the promotions they go to not only handle how they market their fighters differently, but they also target different demographics.
ONE Championship was happy to announce bringing “Mighty Mouse “Johnson on board to a promotion where the flyweight division is fresh for him to compete in and work his way to a title fight. On their official website they called him a “mega star”, and added that “Now, after clearing out the flyweight division in North America, he has opted to test himself against fresh challenges in Asia.” They have already begun pushing out video on social media to welcome in the former UFC flyweight champion.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) October 30, 2018
Potential opponents according to ONE are; Adriano Moraes, Kairat Akhmetov, Reece McLaren, Danny Kingad, Gianni Subba, and of course current flyweight champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio. It is clear that they are happy to have him and have plenty of fights they are prepared to put him in.
Meanwhile, the most promotion the UFC has done to welcome Ben Askren aboard has been done by Askren himself on Twitter. He has called out almost every fighter in the weight classes he feels he can make and his tweets have helped build his list of potential match-ups. However, it seems unless someone asks, the UFC has not addressed signing the undefeated welterweight, something Askren brought up himself.
Hey @ufc are you gonna make an announcement? You are like that guy with a GF who’s embarrassed to tell his buddies even when everyone knows! Ha ha ha you know you love me.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 30, 2018
The hardcore MMA fans always had love for Johnson and those are the same fans that are aware of Askren coming to the UFC. So, why does it seem like Johnson is getting the red carpet rolled out for him at ONE and Askren is still waiting on some acknowledgment himself? Dana White was blaming fans for Johnson not being a draw but there is some responsibility on the promotion to make them a draw.
Either way, the game has changed and the potential fights for both men are definitely what MMA needs. Those that were not a fan of either man, is likely to become one now.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel