Burt Watson says the growth of mixed-martial-arts has not benefited everyone.
For many years, Burt Watson worked for UFC as an event coordinator. He was often seen in episodes of UFC Embedded until his abrupt separation with the company in 2015. On Holy Smokes, Fightful MMA's Holy Smokes podcast, Watson appeared and spoke about when UFC took off as a company.
"I think MMA became big business back in 2009,2010. When UFC really started expanding out in the international market. The very first time I did a show in an arena that was so damn big that I had to go from one dressing room to another dressing room in a golf cart because the arena was so big. That was in Canada, fifty-five thousand people, I knew then that MMA had more than legs. It had legs and a full tank of gas and it had a rotary engine on the back of it," said Watson.
As someone who saw the UFC become a global brand, Watson says that some of the fighters had to adjust to the changes.
"I've seen the progression of it. The sport itself has moved so rapidly and has grown so rapidly. It didn't give the athletes involved time to adjust to that change. When the sport got bigger, there was more sponsorship money, there was more money involved, television became interested, and it became big business. When an organization becomes big business, very often, along the way, the average worker in that scenario feels a little left behind. Because that wheel is moving so fast. That has happened in MMA," said Watson.
He also said he has seen a change on the regional circuit and around the country. He said he believes the fighters are catching up to the "big business" of mixed-martial-arts.
Holy Smokes with host "Showdown Joe" Ferraro and co-host Sean Ross Sapp airs weekly and after UFC events.