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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
MMA monetization: UFC collectible figurines

UFC Action Figures
Time to make room for Kimbo Slice alongside Cobra Commander and Boba Fett on your mantel.

There are any number of reasons why mixed martial arts will permanently supplant boxing as the premier combat sport in the United States: It's more visually engaging, the big fights usually happen on time, and talent egos are corralled.

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One asset continues to go largely unnoticed: It's brand indoctrination, and it is best exemplified by the upcoming Kimbo Slice collectible figurine. ("Action figure" would be a misnomer. I don't think this thing bends -- although being able to pose him in a hunched-over, gasping-for-air position might amuse some.)

MMA lends itself to marketing and merchandizing in a manner that is completely lost on boxing. Floyd Mayweather Jr. toys do not occupy any bedroom shelves. No Mike Tyson pay-per-view has ever settled into the DVD sales charts. Boxing is a one-and-done premise; MMA is a constant. Occupying end-cap displays at Wal-Mart will do more for the sport's continued growth than virtually anything else. That Kimbo toy belongs in an MBA class.