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Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams and Stephen Dittmore

As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.

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Carla A. Santos, Scott Tainsky, K. Alexander Schmidt and Changsup Shim

To date, scholarly attention to mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has been limited. This study sought to address this gap in literature by focusing on the news media’s framing of public officials’ discourse concerning MMA. In so doing, the study addressed the entanglement of news media, sport, and contemporary political maneuvering. Overall, findings suggest two dominant media frames: leveraging of sociopolitical capital to protect societal values and leveraging of sociopolitical capital to advocate for legislation. Specifically, the authors propose that news media have framed and reframed MMA as a succession of moral threats and reassurances that are given voice by public officials in the name of protecting the citizenry.

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Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.

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Choong Hoon Lim, Tywan G. Martin and Dae Hee Kwak

The current study employs the hedonic paradigm model (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982) to investigate the interceding function of emotions on the relationship between personality (i.e., risk taking) and attitude toward mixed martial arts. This study also examines sport-media (e.g., television) consumption of a nontraditional sport. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the proposed model incorporating risk taking, pleasure, arousal, attitude, and actual consumption behavior. The study found a significant mediation effect of emotion (pleasure and arousal) in the relationship between risk taking and attitude. In addition, attitude showed a direct and significant influence on actual media-consumption behavior. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed, along with future directions for research.

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Evan L. Frederick, Galen E. Clavio, Lauren M. Burch and Matthew H. Zimmerman

For this case study, an Internet-based survey was posted on a popular mixed-martial- arts (MMA) blog to ascertain its users’ demographics and usage trends. Data analysis revealed that users were predominantly White men between the ages of 23 and 39, with some college education and an annual income of $40,000–59,999. An exploratory factor analysis revealed 6 dimensions of gratification: evaluation, community, information gathering, knowledge demonstration, argumentation, and diversion. The most salient motivation statements were related to the speed of information access, the depth of information and coverage, and the availability of information not typically found through traditional media outlets. Most users spent 1–5 hr/wk watching MMA programming and 1–10 hr/wk on MMA blogs, making 1–20 comments per week. Findings indicated that users used this particular blog for both interactive and information-gathering purposes.

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Gregg Bennett, Khalid Ballouli and Jason Sosa

The purpose of this investigation was to assess the effectiveness of a sport management student exchange program. During a summer semester, Wilson University1 faculty hosted a 39-day exchange and study tour made possible due to funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Fusion Arts Exchange program. The theme of the program, the American Sports Brand, was based on an original model focused on creating a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, and values among a multinational group of students through an intensive study of the formation, development, and business practices of the American Sports Brand. Participants included 15 international students and five American undergraduate students. A mixed methodological framework was used to examine student learning, perceptions, and experiences. Findings indicate that the exchange was perceived as “sometimes good, sometimes not so good” by the participants. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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T. Christopher Greenwell, Jason M. Simmons, Meg Hancock, Megan Shreffler and Dustin Thorn

February 23, 2013, was a historic date for women’s mixed martial arts (MMA). For the first time in history, two female fighters not only competed in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche were also the headline attraction for UFC 157. Ironically, this bout

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T. Bettina Cornwell, Steffen Jahn, Hu Xie and Wang Suk Suh

is converging evidence to suggest that emotion enhances memory for information that is relevant to currently active goals ( Levine & Edelstein, 2009 ). Considering that most people at a sports, arts, or entertainment event would have the goal of attending and being an audience member for some if not