It can be odd to watch your white-collar boss do your blue-collar job.

A lot of times in the world, management butts heads with their workers because the managers want them to do a better job, while the workers often feel as though the manager couldn’t do their job as well as they do. It’s a tug and pull in this world that is not only natural, but unavoidable. On the opposite end of things, there are people out there who don’t perform well in a suit sitting behind a desk, but rather on the warehouse floor, pounding the pavement and getting their hands dirty.

How this relates to the world of MMA is evident when one looks at World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo. Sefo is scheduled to take on Dave Huckaba at the promotion’s fourth card in August. That’s right, the man in charge of the show is going to be part of the show.

This move has resulted in a lot of criticism from media, fans and fighters, all claiming how ridiculous it is for the president of the promotion to enter the cage and fight.

The truth of the matter is that in the height of the “Attitude” era of the WWE, fans were glued to the television every Monday night, waiting for the next storyline between WWE owner Vince McMahon and superstar “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. While there were a lot of plots going on, the feud between the wrestler and his boss definitely skyrocketed the ratings. Plain and simple, the gimmick worked. Putting the owner of the company in the squared circle and having him get his hands dirty, not only within the realm of wrestling but deep inside the storyline, took the company to the next level.

With Sefo scheduled to have a fight of his own inside the cage during the promotion’s next show, a lot of people have been drawing a comparison to that of McMahon and the WWE. Despite his history as a world champion kickboxer, Sefo’s bout is seen as a publicity stunt, not a quality bout.

Honestly, it is an easy comparison to make, but people are viewing this in terms that are too black and white. This isn’t simply about taking a suit who has no training or experience and inserting them in the cage against a bona fide professional mixed martial artist. This isn’t UFC President Dana White strapping on four-ounce gloves and stepping into the Octagon to battle former UFC champion Tito Ortiz. Nor is it Bellator’s CEO, Bjorn Rebney, taking to the cage to settle his differences with Eddie Alvarez.

This is Ray Sefo, who holds a professional kickboxing record of 56-21-1 and an MMA record of 2-1. This is a man who was fighting regularly prior to his time standing behind a podium, wearing a suit, fielding questions about how his fighters performed on a given night or who would be matched up for the next card.

Think of the superhero Superman. When he was born, he was Superman. No matter what he does throughout the course of the day, he will still be able to fly, lift a car over his head with ease, and writhe in agony when in the vicinity of kryptonite. Superman puts on a suit and becomes his alter-ego, Clark Kent, who is an average, run-of-the-mill human. Sure, while he is Kent, he can do the same tasks, but he cannot reveal his true identity to the world.

Sefo was born a fighter. He has fought his entire life, whether it was in kickboxing or in MMA. He has spent his time in the gym training. If the fighting community has forgotten this, then they need to be reminded.

If the comparison that people want to draw is that it would be like White or Rebney hopping in their respective cages and duking it out with one of their fighters, then those people are crazy. Those scenarios involving White and Rebney would never happen, nor would any commission ever approve of it in the first place.

Sure, the 42-year-old Sefo’s best days as a fighter are likely behind him. And granted, his spot in a fight for a promotion over which he presides as president may technically be viewed as an angle that the promotion is trying to play to get ratings, but doesn’t every promotion play for such angles? Bellator’s tournament format is its angle and the UFC’s angle back in the day was its one-night tournament.

If the WSOF gets bigger ratings drawn to its card based on the fact that Sefo is fighting in one of the bouts, then the promotion will be successful in what they are trying to accomplish. Promotions, especially young ones, need to have people tune into their product in order to make money. That is the job of Sefo, the fighter. However, Sefo, the president, is depending on the rest of the card delivering to the point where fans will continue to tune in beyond his fight.

Just because the last couple of times we have seen “Sugar” Sefo, he was wearing a suit and tie, don’t let that fool you into thinking he isn’t a trained professional fighter. The white-collar boss is going to roll up his sleeves and display his blue-collar roots in August.

Photo: Ray Sefo (Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.