Another year has just about come and gone for the world of mixed martial arts. The growth and progress of the sport since 2001 has been simply incredible.
It's come a long way, but are the athletes revered and respected like those in the traditional "major" sports?If you're looking at media coverage, probably not. Mike Chiappetta from MMAFighting.com says definitely not. He penned a piece this week to express his anger that Jon Jones, the clear choice for king of the MMA world in 2011, got zero respect from those voting for the AP's 2011 Male Athlete of the Year award.
Green Packers Super Bowl winning QB Aaron Rodgers won the award with MLB AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander finishing second. Others getting votes included Novak Djokovic, Cam Newton, Tony Stewart, Kelly Slater, Derek Jeter, Dario Franchitti, and Usain Bolt. That's right, there's also a surfer, driver and sprinter on the list, but no MMA fighter.
Maybe the time hasn't arrived yet for athletes like Jones to be considered along with stars from the NFL, NBA and MLB. Or as Chiappetta and Iole suggest, the lack of respect for Jones is more a sign that the folks voting for the award are out of touch with the younger demographic and the hottest sport for males 18-34 years old.
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