According to a July 9 post from Bleacher Report, no UFC or WWE stars will be featured in ESPN The Magazine's The Body Issue for 2014. ESPN Body Issue 2014, which hits newsstands this week, showcases athletes from almost every professional sport except for MMA and pro wrestling. Several soccer players and superstars from boxing and baseball will be featured, but none from the UFC or WWE.
BMX rider Nigel Sylvester, Olympic bobsledder Aja Evans, MLB slugger Prince Fielder, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, WNBA star Angel McCoughtry and boxing legend Bernard Hopkins are among the athletes in the ESPN Body Issue 2014. Elsewhere, NBA star Serge Ibaka makes a cameo, as does Jimmy Spithill. Unfortunately, the ESPN Body Issue 2014 will not feature any athletes in the realm of mixed martial arts.
In past years, sports fans had the chance to see UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and perennial contender Miesha Tate strut their stuff in the magazine. Rousey's cameo in last year's The Body Issue absolutely catapulted her career, and drew attention to the UFC's female division. Additionally, former Strikeforce star Gina Carano was previously featured in ESPN's The Body Issue. This year, it would have been nice to see ESPN secure the services of one of the UFC's current champions for a feature in The Body Issue.
Since Rousey, Tate and Carano have already been showcased, perhaps ESPN could have tried to get one of the UFC's male stars to pose. Sports fans would have loved to see UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, or possibly UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, barely it all for the world to see. After all, it's done in a tactful way. Weidman and Jones have incredible physiques and it would have been great to see them showcased.
The purpose of ESPN's The Body Issue is to celebrate the athletic form, not exploit it. They always showcase the athletes in an artistic, classy manner, and there's nothing sexual about it. Besides the lack of UFC talent on display in this year's magazine, ESPN also failed to feature any WWE athletes. ESPN's The Body Issue may have seen record sales if they would have been able to get John Cena or CM Punk to pose. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. Of course, there's always next year.