Why do social media stars always end up in sports?

In recent years it has become increasingly common for social media celebrities to enter the world of sports, particularly martial arts such as MMA. While the reasons for this trend are varied, it is 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 attracted to esports 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 celebrities are created and nurtured. In the past, rising stars had to rely on traditional media such as television, film, and music to garner 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 given rise to a new breed of celebrity 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 lead to significant commercial opportunities.

One of the most lucrative ways for influencers to monetize their fame is through brand partnerships and sponsorships. Big companies are always looking for ways to reach younger, digitally savvy audiences, and social media influencers offer a way to do just that. In many cases, influencers can make more money with sponsored posts and brand partnerships than with traditional media jobs.

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Sport as a focus

So why are social media celebrities so drawn to esports, and martial arts like MMA in particular? For one, these sports offer a unique and exciting challenge that can be very appealing to those who have already achieved a certain level of success in their social media careers. Competitive sports require discipline, dedication and hard work, which can be a welcome respite from the fast-paced, often chaotic world of social media.

Additionally, martial arts like MMA offer a level of intensity and physicality that is hard to find in other sports. Fighters must be in incredible shape, both mentally and physically, as they are in constant danger of injury or defeat. This type of challenge can be very attractive to influencers who are used to a more comfortable lifestyle.

Why MMA?

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

In addition, MMA offers a unique path to fame and success. Unlike other sports where athletes typically have to work their way up and compete at a high level for years before achieving real success, MMA allows fighters to quickly make their mark with just a few impressive feats. This can be particularly appealing to social media influencers used to quick, viral hits.

Logan Paul & KSI

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

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In 2019, Paul announced he would be making his professional boxing debut against YouTuber KSI. The bout was a huge success, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the two online personalities battle it out in the ring. Paul ultimately lost the fight, but his performance was impressive enough to spark interest in his potential as a martial artist.

After the KSI fight, Paul began training in MMA, working with trainers such as former UFC fighter Paulo Thiago. He made his MMA debut in 2021, facing fellow YouTuber and TikTok star Bryce Hall in a celebrity show match. Although not a professional fight, the fight still generated significant publicity and demonstrated Paul’s dedication to the sport. It can be said that he completely changed the direction of the sport.

This also influenced Logan’s younger brother Jake Paul to get into the sport where he found quite a bit of success. In fact, Jake’s match with Tommy Fury stands as one of the most anticipated fights of 2023, which speaks volumes about her impact on the sport. Find more information about the fight here and learn for yourself.

Dilon Danis

Another influencer who found success in MMA is Dillon Danis. Danis is a former world jiu-jitsu 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 material and behind-the-scenes insights into his life as a fighter.

Danis made his MMA debut in 2018 and has since gone 2-0 with both wins coming by assist. Despite being criticized by some in the MMA community for his brash personality and association with McGregor, there is no denying that Danis has proven to be an experienced and capable fighter.

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Success attracts ambitious people

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

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


In summary, the trend of social media celebrities entering the world of sports, particularly martial arts such as 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 offer a welcome respite from the pressure and stress of social media fame. Additionally, martial arts offer a unique and exciting path to success and fame that can be particularly appealing to those who have already achieved some level of viral success.

While there are certainly concerns and criticisms regarding the rise of social media celebrities in martial arts, it is clear that these influencers are here to stay. As the world of esports continues to evolve and adapt to the changing media landscape, we are likely to see more and more social media stars stepping into the fray, bringing new and unique energy to the world of athletic competitions.

Photo Credit: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash