While it may be difficult to define what makes an influencer, one thing is for certain: the command attention no matter what they do. Sometimes their jobs are easy to comprehend, they may be aspiring comedians, Instagram models, or video game streams. Other times, they just have a fascinating presence that makes people invested in seeing whatever projects the connect themselves to. One of MMA’s most notable influencers is Hasbulla Magomedov.
Hasbulla became a world-wide sensation
The 20-year-old who suffers from a congenital condition that hindered his growing became something of an overnight sensation on the internet and more specifically within the MMA community once he began to appear on videos shared by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and other Dagestani athletes. Soon after getting that push, Hasbulla himself gained his own followers and became a web celebrity with millions and millions of followers on various social media platforms.
Most recently, that skyrocketing fame seems to have grabbed the attention of one of the world’s most well-known newspapers, the New York Times. The publication recently ran a piece telling Hasbulla’s story. The articles is filled with quotes that range from UFC president Dana White, who calls Magomedov a ‘rock star’, to a health specialist concerned about how media exploits the influencer’s dwarfism for entertainment.
New York Times writer Joseph Bernstein tells a detailed tale about Hasbulla’s life story, how he became famous, his Dagestani roots and Muslim beliefs, the contents of his videos and what exactly makes him such a popular presence on social media.
UFC president Dana White is a fan
Though some of the questions were difficult to answer, the characters Bernstein spoke to shared their views. For UFC president Dana White, the whole idea of Hasbulla’s celebrity seems quite simple. Although he guarantees that the man will never fight in the Octagon, Magomedov’s charisma cannot be denied.
“This kid, because of his personality and because everybody likes him, has had opportunities that most people all over the world will never have,” he said. He added that Hasbulla “is a human being who lives his own life and makes his own choices.”
“People are in awe of him. People love him,” Mr. White said. “He’s a rock star.”
Does the media dehumanize Hasbulla?
Meanwhile, Dr. Erin Pritchard a lecturer in disability and education at Liverpool Hope University, showed more concern for the way other people treat the influencer. While the relationship Magomedov seems to have with his peers and other celebrities may be considered playful by most viewers, Dr. Pritchard (who has dwarfism herself) warns readers to the dangers of dehumanazing the 20-year-old or not seeing him as an adult.
“The comments on his videos are always, ‘he’s so cute,’” Pritchard said. “Well, but he’s a man. They treat him like a child, they pick him up and sit him on their knee.” Western society dehumanizes little people, Dr. Pritchard said. “They don’t see a disabled person,” she said, “they see a novelty.”
Just last March, a video showing Hasbulla and retired boxing legend Mike Tyson went viral for the very reasons Dr. Pritchard warned readers about. The post, here shared by media account Complex, shows the former fighter picking Magomedov up and treating the in the playful manner one would do with a young child.
Hasbulla signed a contract with the UFC
Whatever the driver behind his success might be, it can’t be denied how much his overall presence has grown within the combat sports world. From being seen at fighting events to hanging out with professional athletes and stars, the influencer was able to land a five-year contract with UFC president Dana White, as embassador of the brand, helping the promotion sell upcoming fights and events.
“This is a blast from the face!” Sports journalist Igor Lazorin posted on Instagram. “Hasbulla signed a five year contract with UFC! So far in the plan – attending tournaments, media activity. We will not talk about the amounts in detail, but there they are such that many fighters do not get that much. Hasbulla signed 5 year contract with UFC! No fights yet, but…”
On his professional Instagram account, Hasbulla continues the share his interest for cars, guns, fighting and religion, while also sharing the occasional picture with one his close fighter friends, such as UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.
Just last March, Magomedov was even seen sitting courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game, in Dallas. However, another attendee claims Hasbulla spent most of the match checking his Instagram analytics.
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