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Is UFC's Chuck Liddell Mainstream?

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is a bit past his prime in the Octagon, but he's still America's most famous and most popular mixed martial arts fighter. So the media coverage of the hamstring injury that will keep Liddell out of UFC 85 is an opportunity to find out to what extent he and his sport have achieved mainstream status.

The injury was first reported Monday night by, and was confirmed on UFC's official web site shortly thereafter. Today Liddell's injury has received a fair amount of coverage in the mainstream sports media, and it was mentioned on ESPNews, which is something of a watershed.

On the web, you can find the news (although not very prominently featured) on and, and Yahoo, of course, is all over it. But it's nowhere to be found on the web sites of CBS Sports or Sports Illustrated. And most newspapers continue to pretend MMA doesn't exist. A Google News search reveals only one newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, that covered Liddell's injury.

So have UFC and its biggest star entered the mainstream? I submit that they have on the web, where news outlets carefully track traffic stats and know that MMA coverage brings in eyeballs and can help sites become, say, the No. 6 blog on the net. But newspapers, which are less attuned to the interests of their readers, still leave MMA behind.

Previously on FanHouse:
When the AP Gets MMA Wrong, the Entire Mainstream Media Follows

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