One way to gauge if an entertainment entity has moved beyond its core fans to a larger, mainstream audience is to look at the products it licenses outside of the industry. The broader and more complex the production and distribution chain, the less likely it is that a “niche” industry will escape to the larger public.
For years, the sport of mixed martial arts, most prominently the UFC, has been growing its core fan base, which had been content to buy branded products like t-shirts, hats and other easy-to-produce materials. Now, Fathead, which makes oversize wall graphics, and Round 5, which produces collectible figurines, have made separate agreements with the UFC to create items with which more mainstream sports have already connected.
The Fatheads, which measure 27 inches wide by 74 inches tall, include popular champions Brock Lesnar, Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva and B.J. Penn, as well as contenders Jon Jones, Junior Dos Santos and Nate Marquardt.
Round 5 has created nearly 30 figurines to date, including all of the top UFC stars, plus Gina Carano, the most popular women’s fighter, Kimbo Slice and “Big John” McCarthy, the legendary referee.