Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Kevin Wamsley


This dissertation uses the work of Guy Debord to examine the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC. More specifically, it examines spectacular narratives surrounding the main event of UFC 114, which featured Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson facing ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans. Drawing upon not only the event itself, but also the season of The Ultimate Fighter during which the two combatants coached opposing teams, this study looks at how masculinity is performed and presented, and how those spectacular presentations of masculinity are then used as a means of selling commodities.

Drawing upon the work of Guy Debord, this dissertation examines Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and the UFC specifically, examining how theories of spectacle and the spectacular can be used to understand MMA, the UFC, and their place within contemporary mediasport.

More specifically, this dissertation examines how dominant concepts of masculinity, particularly those dealing with the use of violence and domination to assert and prove masculinity, are expressed not only during a UFC Pay-Per-View event, but within the larger UFC ‘integrated sport spectacle,’ including the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter reality series, as well as the UFC Primetime specials used to promote PPV events.

These concepts of masculinity are then discussed in relation to the sponsors and advertisers who promote their products and brands through the UFC. This dissertation argues that by presenting these dominant concepts of masculinity as being signified by the UFC fighters, these commodities are then associated with not only the fighters, but with the concepts of masculinity which the fighters represent.