MMA's growing celebrity
As the sport of mixed martial arts grows in popularity, some of its biggest stars are enjoying some crossover celebrity success.
In fact, right now there are two shows on NBC that include MMA stars in them. The first one is Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, which airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. Unlike previous seasons, there is no job working for Trump at stake. Instead, the contestants are all competing for their favorite charity. MMA is represented by Tito Ortiz, and the first episode took place this past week.
I have to admit, I watched The Apprentice the first couple of seasons it came out but lost interest over time as the show became a bit repetitious. The celebrity hook, however, has me back watching. In the first episode, the teams were divided into men vs. women, and the task was to make as much money as possible selling hot dogs. The men crushed, raising about three times as much as the women. The first eliminated contestant was former Playboy playmate Tiffany Fallon (who, by the way, could be considered a member of the MMA community given her role on IFL Battleground.)
Ortiz had a minor role in the first episode, though girlfriend Jenna Jameson did make an appearance.
The other show featuring a MMA star is American Gladiators, a revival of the show I loved growing up. The Gladiators on the newest season of the show are celebrities for the most part, including Leila Ali and Hulk Hogan. MMA is represented by Gina Carano, the EliteXC fighter who is well-known as much for her looks as her skill. On the show, Carano plays the role of Crush. The first episode airs tonight at 9 p.m.
I'll definitely be watching...