Red Jelly Beans, Kleenex and Mixed Martial Arts: Oddly Logical Analogies on a Sunday Morning

By E. Spencer Kyte (

If given a choice, which would you rather have: as many red jelly beans as you could possibly eat or all the jelly beans you could stomach in a variety of colors?

Those who love red jelly beans see no reason to venture away from their favorite, content to consume the one and only option they enjoy. But some people enjoy and even need variation, different options and possibilities in their jelly bean intake, and the idea of only being allowed one color ruins the enjoyment.

Now that you’re craving jelly beans, think about this: what if the red jelly beans represented the UFC? Now what would you choose?

The idea of a Mixed Martial Arts monopoly has been discussed in various incarnations since the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the dominant brand in the sport.

Advocates of the idea speak of the other major sports leagues, Major League Baseball and the NBA for example, where all the best athletes aim to play under the banner of the marquee name in the game.

They talk about dream match-ups between fighters who have yet to face each other, the thought of Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko meeting in the center of the Octagon for the UFC Heavyweight title sending them into an imaginary fight euphoria.

If the sport of Mixed Martial Arts was derived to determine which style was the best and ultimately, which fighter was the best, wouldn’t having all the best fighters in the world under one roof make a great deal of sense?

Opponents of the idea would argue differently.

For starters, variety is the spice of life; imagine how boring listening to the radio would be if your only option was an all-muzak station? Or, more in keeping with the topic, all aggro-alternative like the music the UFC always uses? Sometimes you want a nice, soft ballad or some old fashion gangsta rap and having a multitude of MMA options give fans that choice.

Additionally, the most popular sport in the world (to make it easiest, let’s just call it soccer) is not contested in just one league. While some would argue that the best of the best participate in the English Premiership, others would point to the La Liga in Spain as the home of the best soccer clubs and players, while others still would argue for Italy’s Serie A.

None of those leagues is close to struggling, despite the fact that the best players in the world are spread amongst them, not to mention those playing in Germany, France and the countless other countries with professional leagues.

We’re already at a point where the UFC is becoming the Kleenex of MMA; so prevalent within the sport that people simply refer to MMA as UFC, just as all facial tissue is commonly referred to as Kleenex.

Perhaps the key to remember in the Kleenex analogy is that while the name has been genericized, there are still a multitude of manufacturers making facial tissue.

The difference, of course, is that while the people at Scottie’s don’t care if you call their product Kleenex or facial tissue, Scott Coker and Strikeforce will certainly be saddened if you refer to their product as UFC…

Whether it’s relating the sport to jelly beans or drawing comparisons with facial tissues, there is no definitive answer to whether a Mixed Martial Arts monopoly and the genercizing of the sport is good or bad moving forward.

Those who love red jelly beans are still going to want to do away with all the other colors and Scottie’s is still going to make facial tissue, even if you call it Kleenex.

Some will forever argue that all the best fighters belong in the UFC, just as many will mistakenly label Mixed Martial Arts with the name of the biggest brand in the business.

Personally, I don’t want to live in a world with only red jelly beans and while I call the stuff I blow my nose in each morning Kleenex, I know that it’s really called facial tissue.

What about you?

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