Chuck Mindenhall wants what is best for MMA, and although he may not always know what that is, he holds his breath every time the sport hits another roadblock.
Mindenhall hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) in Sept. 2018. During that AMA, he was asked for his thoughts on where the industry will be in 10 years: “It’s hard to say, but the hope is that the sport is still alive and well. That doesn’t always feel like a given.”
“If I’m being honest, there have been times — actually this is one of those times where you’re not sure how this looks to the broader world. The UFC is now part of Endeavour,” Mindenhall said, alluding to Endeavour’s financial woes and the UFC moving forward with live events during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There are always going to be these moments where I’m like, ‘Is it too lunatic? Is it too crazy at times for people to get behind?’ Personally, I was drawn to the fact that it was an outlier sport. I love mixed martial arts. I love watching fights. I love the idea of dictation of wills.”
“In the evolutions, and we’ve seen many, if you’re covering the sport you go through just about everything it seems to me,” he continued. “I think there are moments where it seems like it’s losing steam. The ebb maybe deadly for just a minute. People lose enthusiasm for it.”
One example Mindenhall provided were the large number of athletes that popped for banned substances under increased drug testing.
“When the PEDs start really coming out, how many people are doing them,” he explained. “Just negative stuff that just has its day in the sport. You wonder at times if it can keep going. Through all of that, not only as the UFC kind of kept going, they’ve kind of flourished in this strange way because... they’re on ESPN. As disastrous as the Reebok deal is, they’re still affiliated with brands like Reebok. They keep pushing this into bigger and bigger sectors. People who I never thought would come around to this sport treat it as a fairly normal thing to see on TV. They don’t walk away from it or talk to you about how brutal it is. It’s gotten used to over time. “
“There are moments where I think ‘how will MMA overcome this?’ I feel like I deal with that all the time,” Mindenhall concluded.
Timestamps are below for the video above.
0:45 - Jeff Wagenheim’s recreational activities
1:56 - Fashion Watch with Chucky M.
3:21 - ESPN & The Athletic in MMA
10:59 - Departure from MMA Fighting
13:41 - Is MMA Alive and Well?
17:10 - Media vs. Managers
30:29 - Is UFC Missing the Fertittas?
34:14 - MMA Beat to Man & The MITH
37:43 - Hat Trick