Cage Kings : How An Unlikely Group Of Moguls, Champions & Hustlers Transformed The Ufc Into A $10 Billion Industry by Michael Thomsen

Cage Kings : How An Unlikely Group Of Moguls, Champions & Hustlers Transformed The Ufc Into A $10 Billion Industry by Michael Thomsen

A cultural and business history of the UFC unveils the extraordinary journey of mixed martial arts, once dismissed as “human cockfighting” in the 1990s, transitioning into a global pop culture phenomenon. While Senator John McCain and the New York Times condemned the sport as a violent spectacle and a symbol of societal decline, today it is regarded with reverence as a real-time game of “human chess.” The UFC has become one of the world’s most valuable franchises, surpassing even the NFL, NBA, and MLB in worth, rivaling Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics.

From being banned in 36 states and near bankruptcy, cage fighting has ultimately attained mainstream acceptance. Witness the mesmerizing behind-the-scenes chronicle of Cage Kings, as it unveils the trials and tribulations of desperate fighters, audacious promoters, enthusiastic bloggers, nurturing trainers, introspective announcers, opportunist sponsors, and the unexpected rise of three young corporate titans on their darkly comical journey to normalize a new level of brutality in American pop culture and accumulate immense wealth.

With its stylish prose and poignant insight, the book provokes contemplation on how the erosion of the American dream over the past three decades, coupled with the inherent violence of modern capitalism, primed us to embrace a sport like cage fighting.

Cage Kings: The Transformation of UFC

You wanted the best, you’ve got the best podcast, the hottest hot podcast in the world – The Chris Bosh Show! This preeminent podcast features guests who are so smart, you may experience serious brain bleed. Get ready, strap yourself in, and keep your hands, arms, and legs inside the vehicle at all times because you’re about to go on a monster roller coaster ride of education. Your host, Chris Voss, welcomes you to the show.

Welcome to The Chris Voss Show! We appreciate you joining us today for this special episode of The Chris Bosh Show, the giant cult religion of podcasts. With 14 years, 1400 episodes, and 2-3 new podcasts every day featuring the most brilliant minds, this podcast is a must-listen. We take pride in only featuring the most brilliant minds on our show, except for me, of course. Today, we will be discussing the UFC and its incredible story. So let’s dive in and explore what the UFC is all about, how it was built, and how it turned into a $10 billion industry.

To learn more about Chris Voss, you can visit his website at and And don’t forget to check out his other platforms like,, and Chris Voss is also active on TikTok, where you can find him at @ChrisVoss.

Joining us today is Michael Thompson, the author of the recently released book “Cage Kings: How an Unlikely Group of Moguls, Champions, and Hustlers Transformed the UFC into a $10 Billion Industry”. This book delves into the amazing insights and research behind the UFC. Michael Thompson is a writer based in New York, whose work has appeared in renowned publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many more. With his extensive knowledge and experience, Michael is the perfect person to shed light on the fascinating story behind the UFC’s success.

Michael, welcome to The Chris Voss Show! We’re thrilled to have you here. How are you doing?

Michael: I’m great, thank you for having me! I’m excited to share more about my book and discuss the incredible journey of the UFC.

Chris: We’re glad to have you here. Before we dive into the book, could you please share where our audience can find you online?

Michael: I primarily operate through my Gmail account and occasionally update my Twitter account. But the best way to connect with me and learn more about my work is by visiting the Amazon link on The Chris Voss Show and ordering my book. You can also leave a review on Amazon and let me know your thoughts.

Chris: Sounds great! Let’s move on to the book. What motivated you to write “Cage Kings”?

Michael: This book had a couple of different stages. Originally, I planned to write a history of prize fighting across several hundred years. But with helpful suggestions from my editor, we decided to focus on the history of the UFC, which was the most obvious choice. Being a fan of martial arts and fighting myself, I was curious about what made my generation, my demographic, so valuable to companies like the UFC. I wanted to explore the business aspects and the mechanisms that made the UFC a success.

Chris: That’s fascinating. It’s interesting to see how the UFC emerged and took the world by storm. Can you give us an overview of the book?

Michael: “Cage Kings” is a sprawling story that spans multiple generations and explores the lives of both fighters and the people running the UFC. It delves into the challenges they faced and how the company shaped their lives and ambitions. The book highlights key figures like Dana White, Bob Mirowitz, and the Fertitta Brothers, while also focusing on legendary fighters such as Randy Couture, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Ronda Rousey, and Conor McGregor. It covers the entire journey of the UFC and its transformation into the $10 billion industry it is today.

Chris: Wow, what an incredible story. Are there any surprising or interesting moments you can share?

Michael: There are so many interesting moments and character stories in the book. One that stands out is my time with Nick and Nate Diaz’s boxing coach, Richard Perez. He had a fascinating journey, from being thrown out of his house at 14 to working as a high school janitor while coaching world champions like Nick and Nate. Hearing his personal story and the hardships he overcame was truly inspiring.

Chris: That sounds truly remarkable. The human stories behind the UFC are what make it so captivating. Now, let’s talk about Dana White. How significant was his role in the success of the UFC?

Michael: Dana White played a crucial role in shaping the UFC into what it is today. While MMA would have survived without him, he was instrumental in turning it into a unified and coherent brand. His business acumen, endless promotion, and dedication to the sport have played a vital role in the UFC’s success.

Chris: That’s impressive to see how his leadership and vision contributed to the UFC’s growth. Thank you for sharing your insights, Michael. It has been a pleasure having you on the show.

Michael: Thank you for having me. It was great discussing my book and the incredible story behind the UFC. I hope readers enjoy “Cage Kings” and gain a deeper understanding of the journey that transformed the UFC into a $10 billion industry.

Chris: We highly recommend our listeners to grab a copy of “Cage Kings: How an Unlikely Group of Moguls, Champions, and Hustlers Transformed the UFC into a $10 Billion Industry”. It’s a captivating read that provides unique insights into the world of the UFC. And remember to check out all the platforms where you can find Michael Thompson’s work.

That’s all for today’s episode of The Chris Voss Show. Thank you so much for tuning in, and remember to be good to each other and stay safe. We’ll see you next time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *