ESPN Presents Georges St-Pierre Mascot Self-Defense Training


ESPN follows up their Georges St-Pierre SportsCenter commercial with this funny bit featuring St-Pierre instructing mascots in various MMA techniques. From the video description:

ESPN releases Georges St. Pierre's Mascot Self-Defense Training as a promotion for Saturday's upcoming UFC 124: St. Pierre vs Koscheck II. St. Pierre shows the Mascots some great techniques such as the superman punch, and the arm drag which does include pulling the tail and kicking of course.

ESPN has been slow to embrace MMA. By my recollection, they first dabbled in the sport when they aired the UFC 71 weigh-ins live. They disappeared from the scene, but would occasionally display results on their ticker. In the summer of 2008, ESPN launched MMA Live as an Internet show. MMA Live graduated to ESPN 2 in May of this year.

The thing that intrigues me most about the video is that ESPN released it "as a promotion" for UFC 124. This doesn't appear to be your typical SportsCenter commercial. It doesn't feature any ESPN personalities. In fact, outside of the splash screen at the end, it doesn't mention ESPN or SportsCenter at all. 

I'm not about to speculate what this says, if anything, about a broadcasting partnership between ESPN and the UFC. It's probable that it means nothing in that regard. But it demonstrates a change in mindset about MMA in Bristol. This is more than UFC results being begrudgingly reported on SportsCenter. This is the beginning of ESPN legitimizing the sport in the eyes of their vast audience. 

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