By now everyone has seen that there will apparently be Bellator MMA fights at four NASCAR races this season. To be clear NASCAR as a sanctioning body says they have no relationship with Bellator. Monster Energy is the one attempting to bring MMA fights to NASCAR races, to provide more entertainment for the fans.
This is an all time terrible idea.
NASCAR has attempted forever to change the image of the sport and the fan base since the early 2000’s. You know the image/stereotype, the uneducated, middle to lower middle class, redneck fan base that made NASCAR what it is today. While the cost and technology of the sport has risen ten fold, the fan base hasn’t followed suit as fast.
Unfortunately NASCAR and MMA share a lot of the same fans. This makes sense from a cross promotion standpoint, but it’s a terrible decision if they follow through with it. Walking through the fan zone shouldn’t include an octagon with two men trying to beat each others faces in. The dirt bike, trophy truck, harley show Monster is currently doing works really well. Adding MMA is a bad idea.
It’s just giving ammo to the critics. People already crack jokes about NASCAR and their fans, you throw MMA in there with a Hooters sponsored car and it’s a white trash joke generator.
Not to mention it hurts the image of the sport. Not only is the bra less Kyle Busch fan pointing the car in the right direction with a bud heavy in her hand and a straw hat sitting on her head, she’s also at the fight, jumping up and down and yelling at them. Then mad she didn’t see enough blood. Unfortunately there are still a lot of NASCAR fans that fit that exact description.
NASCAR wants a college educated fan base so badly. One that is made up of young adults that have disposable income to come to races. Moves like this will distance people from that section of the fan base even more. I have no interest in watching an MMA fight at a NASCAR race. It sounds like an awful time. Not saying I’m better than that but I came for a race.
To their credit NASCAR has distanced themselves from this and Bellator has said they don’t have a relationship with NASCAR and rather they have one with Monster. It will be interesting to see if NASCAR allows this to happen.
Having one of the fights at Talladega is the most Talladega thing ever though. It fits so well I can’t even hate it. The people of Alabama probably love MMA, it’d be their state sport if football didn’t exist.
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