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Why do Social Media Celebrities Always End Up in Sports?

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Why do Social Media Celebrities Always End Up in Sports?

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly common for social media celebrities to enter the world of sports, particularly combat sports like MMA. While the reasons for this trend are varied, it’s clear that these influencers are drawn to the physical and mental challenges of athletic competition, as well as the potential for lucrative endorsements and sponsorships. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why social media celebrities are so drawn to sports, and examine some examples of influencers who have made the leap into MMA.

How social media changed fame

First, it’s important to understand that social media has fundamentally changed the way that celebrities are created and cultivated. In the past, aspiring stars had to rely on traditional media outlets like television, film, and music to gain a following. But with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can amass millions of followers and become an influencer overnight.

This democratization of fame has led to a new breed of celebrity, one that is often more relatable and accessible than traditional Hollywood stars. Social media influencers are perceived as more “real” and authentic, as they often share intimate details about their lives with their followers. This level of authenticity and intimacy creates a sense of connection and loyalty between influencers and their fans, which can translate into significant commercial opportunities.

One of the most lucrative ways for influencers to monetize their fame is through brand partnerships and sponsorships. Major companies are always on the lookout for ways to reach younger, digitally-savvy audiences, and social media influencers offer a way to do just that. In many cases, influencers can earn more money from sponsored posts and brand partnerships than they would from traditional media jobs.

Sports as a focal point

So why are social media celebrities so drawn to sports, and particularly to combat sports like MMA? For one, these sports offer a unique and exciting challenge that can be very attractive to those who have already achieved a certain level of success in their social media careers. Athletic competition requires discipline, dedication, and hard work, which can be a welcome change of pace from the fast-paced, often chaotic world of social media.

Additionally, combat sports like MMA offer a level of intensity and physicality that is hard to find in other sports. Fighters have to be in incredible shape both mentally and physically, as they face the constant threat of injury or defeat. This kind of challenge can be very appealing to influencers who are used to a more comfortable lifestyle.

Why MMA in particular?

There are also practical reasons why social media celebrities might be drawn to MMA in particular. For one, the sport has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to high-profile fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. This increased exposure has brought more attention and investment to the sport, which in turn has created more opportunities for fighters at all levels.

Additionally, MMA offers a unique path to fame and success. Unlike other sports, where athletes typically have to work their way up through the ranks and compete at a high level for years before achieving real success, MMA allows fighters to make a name for themselves quickly with just a few impressive performances. This can be especially appealing to social media influencers who are used to rapid, viral success.

Logan Paul & KSI

One influencer who has made the leap into MMA is Logan Paul. Paul is one of the most popular and controversial figures on social media, with over 23 million YouTube subscribers and 19 million Instagram followers. He first gained notoriety for his prank videos, but has since transitioned into more serious content, including documentaries and vlogs.

In 2019, Paul announced that he would be making his professional boxing debut against fellow YouTuber KSI. The fight was a massive success, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the two online personalities duke it out in the ring. Paul ultimately lost the fight, but his performance was impressive enough to generate interest in his potential as a combat sports athlete.

Following the KSI fight, Paul began training in MMA, working with coaches like former UFC fighter Paulo Thiago. He made his MMA debut in 2021, facing off against fellow YouTuber and TikTok star Bryce Hall in a celebrity exhibition match. While the fight was not a professional bout, it still generated significant buzz and demonstrated Paul’s commitment to the sport. It can be said that he changed the direction of the sport completely.

This also influenced Logan’s younger brother, Jake Paul to get into the sport where he’s seen quite a lot of success. In fact, Jake’s match with Tommy Fury is considered as one of the most anticipated fights in 2023, which speaks volumes about their influence in the sport. Find more information here about the fight and learn for yourself.

Dilon Danis

Another influencer who has found success in MMA is Dillon Danis. Danis is a former jiu-jitsu world champion and one of the most prominent members of Conor McGregor’s team. He also has a large following on Instagram, where he often posts training footage and behind-the-scenes glimpses of his life as a fighter.

Danis made his MMA debut in 2018 and has since amassed a record of 2-0, with both wins coming by submission. While he has faced criticism from some in the MMA community for his brash persona and association with McGregor, there’s no denying that Danis has proven himself as a skilled and capable fighter.

Success attracts ambitious people

The success of influencers like Paul and Danis in combat sports has not gone unnoticed by the broader MMA community. Some fighters have expressed frustration with the attention and opportunities that social media celebrities are receiving, arguing that they are being given unfair advantages and opportunities based on their fame rather than their fighting ability.

Others, however, see the rise of social media influencers in combat sports as a positive development. By bringing new fans and attention to the sport, these influencers are helping to grow and expand the MMA community. Additionally, their success may inspire more young people to take up martial arts and pursue careers as fighters.


In conclusion, the trend of social media celebrities entering the world of sports, particularly combat sports like MMA, is a complex phenomenon that reflects the changing nature of fame and celebrity in the digital age. For many influencers, the physical and mental challenges of athletic competition provide a welcome break from the pressures and stresses of social media fame. Additionally, combat sports offer a unique and exciting path to success and fame, which can be particularly appealing to those who have already achieved a level of viral success.

While there are certainly concerns and criticisms surrounding the rise of social media celebrities in combat sports, it’s clear that these influencers are here to stay. As the world of sports continues to evolve and adapt to the changing media landscape, it’s likely that we will see more and more social media stars enter the fray, bringing with them new and unique energy to the world of athletic competition.


Image Credit: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash  

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