Eddie Alvarez credits The Nelk Boys, Sean O'Malley, and video games behind MMA's surging popularity among youngsters

Eddie Alvarez speaks on his thoughts on MMA
Eddie Alvarez speaks on his thoughts on MMA's rise in popularity [Photo Courtesy @ealvarezfight on Instagram]

As a veteran of the sport, Eddie Alvarez has recognized that MMA is increasing in its popularity in 2024. With the UFC 5 video game gaining traction, the former UFC champion believes the average age of the fanbase has decreased with more younger fans gravitating to it.

On the June 3 edition of The MMA Hour, Alvarez spoke his thoughts on the evolution of MMA from a fan perspective. 'The Underground King' attributed the rise of younger viewers in the sport to video games and affiliated UFC influencers whose target audience is primarily children and pre-teens.

Alvarez said:

"If I had to put a finger on it, it's the video games, man. A portion of it is the Nelk Boys, they're at the line of these young kids and then you got Sean O'Malley, who's a direct line with these young kids, and then you got video games... [Video games] still connects me with the younger audience because they're happy to play my character."

Alvarez noted that while he believes the majority of the current UFC fanbase has never seen him compete for the promotion, the EA UFC gaming franchise keeps him relevant with the buyer persona.

The Nelk Boys, who run a popular YouTube channel, are not listed as official sponsors of the UFC but consistently promote the product to their fanbase due to their relationship with Dana White.

Eddie Alvarez's career accomplishments

Eddie Alvarez is never mentioned in conversations for the best lightweight of all time despite having a unique resume that will likely never be replicated. At 40 years of age, Alvarez has competed for the UFC, DREAM, Bellator, ONE Championship and BKFC while holding the 155-pound title for multiple promotions.

To younger fans, Alvarez is most known for being the champion who Conor McGregor dominated to become a two-division titleholder. His legacy, however, spans several years before, as he was the inaugural and two-time Bellator lightweight champion before signing with the UFC.

Alvarez's two fights with Michael Chandler still stand as the greatest fights in Bellator history in the eyes of most fans.

In 2016, Eddie Alvarez beat Rafael dos Anjos to join the short list of fighters to become a champion in both Bellator and the UFC.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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