One of the most frequent happenings that makes headlines in sports away from the field or court of play is the trade.
We see trades happen all the time. Athletes can wake up in the morning affiliated with one team and by as early as lunch, they suddenly are acquired by another, in exchange for a future draft pick or another marquee player.
Up until now, trades have been confined to team-oriented sports, such as baseball, football, and hockey. That was, at least, until Wednesday.
The Game Has Changed
Earlier in the week, Eddie Alvarez (29-6, 1 NC) announced that he’d be parting ways with the UFC in order to sign with the Singapore-based ONE Championship, but the promotion isn’t done with adding talent after the Alvarez signing.
Wednesday, it was reported that Demetrious Johnson (27-3-1), who was recently unseated as UFC Flyweight champion by Henry Cejudo (13-2) in UFC 227’s co-main event (split decision), was dealt by UFC to ONE Championship.
In exchange, the UFC will receive Ben Askren (18-0), a welterweight who has not fought on an MMA card since ONE Championship 65: Immortal Pursuit on Nov. 24, where he defeated Shinya Aoki by first-round TKO 57 seconds into the match.
In my opinion, this trade helps both MMA promotions tremendously. For UFC, the acquisition of Ben Askren puts to an end a years-long pursuit of him. For ONE Championship, getting Johnson will likely help the promotion gain a bigger traction here in the United States. If you don’t already know, ONE Championship will stream its cards live and for free on its official YouTube channel and its official mobile app.
With a fighter of Demetrious Johnson’s caliber in the fold, more people will want to get up early, have their coffee, turn on the computer or mobile device and watch the fight.
Yet, at the same time, I still believe that it is far too soon to make an ultimate call as to the winner and the loser of this trade. Neither one of them has fought for his new promotion yet. What’s also unclear at this moment is whether future trades could happen in the sport. Only time will tell on that one.
We’ve already seen the PFL implement a regular season and playoff format, something revolutionary for MMA. Could trades and a trade deadline day be down the pike? Again, talk to me in the future. We’ll revisit this conversation then.
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