Photos from Tom SzczerbowskiZuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre may be out of the Octagon recovering from a knee injury, but he is still filling his role as spokesman for the UFC. St. Pierre is making the media rounds in New York City pushing a sponsor's product, an instant cooling towel, and educating the media about the sport of MMA.
In that effort, St. Pierre appeared on CNN's Starting Points hosted by Soledad O'Brien. The Canadian champion talked about being bullied as a child, how that caused his father to begin training him in Karate and that lead the discussion into MMA. The hosts on the show are not knowledgeable about MMA to the point of it being painful. They call it "Ultimate Fighting" on several occasions, ask if the fights are staged and if it is as violent as it looks. St. Pierre handled the questions with all the grace you'd expect from one of the sport's chief ambassadors and does a fantastic job framing MMA as a true sport.
From a public relations standpoint starting with bullying is a fantastic way to approach talking about MMA training with large media outlets like CNN. Bullying is a huge talking point in the American media and with suicides attributed to bullying receiving national media attention, there is a constant search for the next big way to help kids overcome bullying. Portraying MMA as the way that St. Pierre dealt with bullying makes him a more human and sympathetic figure in the eyes of the a viewer who might have preconceived notions about MMA.
Martial arts training is one of the oldest solutions for parents concerned about bullying and if Mixed Martial Arts can become one of the hot martial arts for parents to enroll their children into it could have a huge impact on the sport moving forward. While this is hardly a new story as St. Pierre has been very open about his childhood, it is still a great method of making both the athletes and sport more acceptable to the general public.
video after the jump...
Thanks to KatGirl at Gal's Guide to MMA for finding this video.