Combat sport athletes have made their mark on SportPro’s list of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes. While the list features several big names from the world of boxing and MMA, their order is a bit surprising, even for UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal.
Powered by Nielsen, the list features soccer icon Lionel Messi on the top. The highest-ranked combat athlete on the list is UFC lightweight kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov. Despite not fighting in the year 2020, the Russian has been in news a lot.
He was booked to fight Tony Ferguson in April, but the fight fell through due to the pandemic. The death of his father in the month of July also came as a shock for all his fans.
The only other MMA figure on the list is Jorge Masvidal, who ranked in at 24. The UFC welterweight took the MMA world by storm with his three back-to-back victories last year. Amidst a rift with the UFC over a pay dispute, Masvidal then stepped in at a short notice to face UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.
While he didn’t win the fight, the narrative of him stepping in on short notice and going five rounds with a fully prepared champ gained him a lot of praise. Moreover, after Masvidal came to know that only two MMA athletes have cracked into the list, ‘Gamebred’ wasn’t impressed with the same.
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) September 28, 2020
22-year-old Ryan Garcia acquires the top-spot among boxers on the list
The work put in by Ryan Garcia on his social media posts have finally paid off. Coming in at No. 12, WBC Silver lightweight champ is the highest-ranked boxer on the list. Garcia’s Instagram videos where he shows-off his insanely fast hands and reflex skills have attracted millions of followers from around the globe.
The other two boxers who complete the list are heavyweight juggernauts Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. The two are ranked side-by-side at 31 and 32.
Fury stepped in the ring earlier this year when he defeated Deontay Wilder in the seventh round of their rematch. Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua last fought and defeated Andy Ruiz Jr. last year in Abu Dhabi. The two have also signed a contract to fight each other if they get past their respective mandatory challengers.
The ranking of the athlete’s marketability was made after assigning them a score. Called the Influencer Selection and Measurement Framework, the methodology draws on vast amounts of social media data to generate an Athlete Influencer Score comprising four key data points: relevance, reach, return, and resonance.
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