Addison Rae and UFC was a joke. But influencers in sports are here to stay.

UFC is under some public criticism after introducing Addison Rae as one of their new reporters . A lot of people consider the famous TikToker unfit for a reporting position. They argue that she is “stealing jobs from people who deserve it.” Are they right? And what is UFC’s purpose of bringing in Addison Rae to the reporting team? Here’s my take on it.

We all know UFC as a sports organization that hosts, promotes and broadcasts attractive Mixed Martial Arts events. And a lot of us know Addison Rae from her TikTok videos. They decided to collaborate together. At first sight, a weird combination. That’s for sure. And UFC’s decision has received a lot of criticism.

And apparrently, we were all wrong, because Addison Rae isn’t actually taking a reporting position at UFC. She just was watching an event, grabbed the mic at the stage and joked about her position. But imagine what could’ve been.

But is this rightful criticism? Is she really unfit for the job? Should a ‘real journalist’ fill her position. I don’t think so.

Why the Rae + UFC collab could work out:

Because we should definitely not underestimate the power of Addison Rae, who has 80+ million followers on Tiktok and racks up at least 4+ Million views per video. Yes. On TikTok too, she faces some criticism, with people saying ‘she only dances’ and that ‘there are way more talented people out there.’

And yes, we could also argue that UFC are just bringing in a ‘familiar face’ with the hopes of attracting more young people. But hear me out: she is more than that: She’s creative (why else is she able to post on a daily base?), consistent and she knows how to reach a younger audience. Mix her creativity with UFC-related content and boom, you have a match.

And that’s what UFC is focusing on: Reaching younger audiences. Because sports broadcasters fail to reach them

With Addison Rae’s expertise in TikToking and creating appealing content for younger generations, I’m sure she can bring a lot of her knowledge and ideas to the table. She can tell UFC what content she made, what worked out, what didn’t, and what is trending on TikTok.

In the end, I’m curious how Addison Rae will be used as a reporter. Who knows she might appear on television, who knows she might stick to TikTok and Instagram Reels, helping UFC in growign their brand massively on these channels. Because Social media channels are arguably the number one way for UFC too reach young adults, teenagers and children.

Blend online and offline, and sports and entertainment

And the issue of reaching younger audience extends beyond broadcasted sports events. Generation Z simply watches less traditional television. They don’t care a lot about how well you can sing, dance or play football. Instead, they care about watching celebrities online, being entertained by them, and (ideally) interacting with them.

And if organizations want to target Generation Z, they should bring in people who already successfully reach Generation Z.

And those are things I have been noticing during the last months as well. For instance, Eurovision brought in Nikkie de Jager (NikkiTutorials – 13.8M YT subscribtions) to host the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. She both appeared at the broadcasted show and on Eurovision’s YouTube Channel. It was an enormous success. Many people didn’t know that she was so good at presenting and interviewing. Many considered her their favourite host, whereas the other three Dutch hosts had already some presenting experience.

I have also been noticing the partnership between UEFA and TikTok during the EURO2020 football games. TikTok invited some of their influencers to games. These influencers made TikToks during the games, and these videos got a lot of traction.

Lastly, our Dutch Public Broadcast is also bringing in more and more influencers during pre- and post-game shows. Yes, on the one hand, bringing in these people reduces the quality of ‘the true football experience’, an experience that includes knowledgeable announcers, reporters and analysts. And not everyone is going to like that. Nor will everyone like influencers. But the entertainment value does rise, which makes the football show more appealing to a broader audience. And especially younger people might be interested in the influencer and the entertainment. So they might start watching the television show.

And what about the Dude with a Sign who appeared at the 2021 Superbowl? Did he have anything to do with sports? No. Was he entertaining? Yes!

Concluding remarks.

So there is one thing for sure: Influencers in sports are here to stay.

Yes, many people prefer watching reporters with more sports knowledge. But many youngsters are loving the entertainment value, both on television and on TikTok, SnapChat, Instagram Reels, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook Live, Twitch, and so forth.

There is a shift happening where sports isn’t only about the sports event itself anymore. Nowadays, sports is also about the side-activities that happen around the event. Both offline and online.

Maybe it’s time to stop criticizing influencers and rethink their role in our society. They aren’t walking billboards. They do have talent. And they are human beings who happen to entertain and inspire tons of people.

By the way, Addison Rae joked that she had studied broadcast journalism for 3 whole months on Twitter. I wish she could gave me a tiny bit of her luck. I’m going to blog like a maniac in order to catch that next UFC position 😉. 

July Fools!

So shortly after I had published this article, Addison Rae jokingly posted the following on Twitter:’nvm y’all got me fired.after the UFC event, and a bit later she also Retweeted Barstool Sport’s Tweet that showed a screenshot of with the caption: “Most hated UFC reporter ever.”

What could’ve been. Maybe her Tweet got even more attention than yesterday’s UFC event. She got hundreds of thousands of people talking about her Tweet, and hundreds of media writing a piece on it. Oh the power of influencers!

Do you like this blog? You sporty type! Last year, I wrote an article about sports athletes who became influencers. I also wrote an article about the takeaways from the Super Bowl Advertisements!