Swoosh ... Hello Mainstream

By Josh Gross Mar 4, 2008
If there were any lingering doubts as to whether mixed martial arts had hit mainstream America, that issue has been decided in the past seven days.

Quinton Jackson (Pictures) will join LeBron James and other star athletes this weekend in Los Angeles to film a Nike commercial dubbed "Human Chain," Sherdog.com has learned.

The spot, featuring a premise of "overachieving with victory, getting knocked down and getting back up," said Jackson's trainer Juanito Ibarra, will be the second Nike ad to showcase a mixed martial artist. Randy Couture (Pictures) became the first in a 1996 spot called "Scars" that featured close-ups of his famously cauliflowered ears.

"We have been working on it for quite a while, and things are just coming around now," said Ibarra, who credited Jackson's charisma for the fighter's increasing notoriety.

"I'm sure the UFC brand helps, being the UFC champion," the trainer said about his charge. "But when people meet 'Rampage,' they really get it."

News of "Human Chain" piggybacks the historic announcements of CBS agreeing to air mixed martial arts produced by EliteXC in primetime and Bud Light becoming the first blue-chip company to align itself with the sport when it signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the UFC.

The gregarious Jackson, however, took the Nike assignment with a "grain of salt," said Ibarra.

"He doesn't look at it like a Nike commercial."

The rest of the world will.
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