Bruce Buffer discusses how bodybuilding needs to follow in the footsteps of UFC and MMA to go mainstream.

Bodybuilding isn’t much different than MMA when it comes to its origins and journey towards a larger appeal. While the two disciplines are very different – their start as cult sports striving to become celebrated are very similar. The big difference is that today MMA, specifically the UFC, holds events in massive venues like Madison Square Garden and is a mainstream sport with massive prize money. Bodybuilding has grown significantly – but has yet to reach pay per view and broadcast levels. What can our sport learn from MMA’s path to fame? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, veteran voice of the octagon Bruce Buffer explains why bodybuilding hasn’t gone mainstream yet.

There’s no denying that bodybuilding is a growing sport with a passionate fanbase. But bodybuilding still is a far cry away from holding expensive pay per view events or being broadcast on major networks like ESPN. Many people have theorized on the reason for this. Some people think it’s due to the connotation of steroid use in the sport. Others think it’s due to the otherworldly physiques that many people might find unpleasing to the eye.

But one sport that has found fame despite many negative connotations is MMA – specifically the UFC. Violent sports are often criticized similar to how bodybuilding is criticized for its connection to steroid use. The bloody violence is also something that many might not want to see – similar to massive bodybuilding physiques. So why has MMA filled massive stadiums?

Bruce Buffer believes that despite the negative connotations MMA has due to violence – deep down people love to see a fight. It’s like when you drive by a car crash. Everyone slows down no matter how gruesome it is. While many might logically hate violence, we are all somehow subconsciously drawn to it.

This isn’t the only factor though. Bruce Buffer also believes it comes down to the athlete personalities. The “it factor” is very important to drawing eyeballs. Conor McGregor is a perfect example of this. In bodybuilding, rivalries have always brought the most attention to big shows. Back when Kai Green and Phil Heath battled on the Olympia stage – there would be countless videos, articles, and opinion pieces about both of them. They were two interesting personalities that clashed. It’s the best thing to bring attention to a wider audience.

Ultimately bodybuilding still has a long way to go if it wants to hit a massive mainstream level of appeal. Bruce Buffer ultimately admits that perhaps the very nature of the sport can never hit that kind of level. But it’s damn well worth trying – and as media moves further into the digital space, bodybuilding has more avenues to broadcast without middlemen deciding its worth.

Watch Bruce Buffer’s full comments on bodybuilding’s future in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

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