Every student in the parks, recreation and sport degree program is required to complete an internship, which allows them to apply the academic knowledge they have gained in a professional setting.
For Logan Brinkley, that internship led to a full-time job offer. Brinkley spent his final semester at University of Missouri in Las Vegas as a global partnerships intern with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Once that experience ended, a full-time opening came available – and he jumped at the opportunity. For nearly three years, Brinkley has been a Global Partnerships Coordinator with the UFC.
“I had been a big fan of the UFC for a long time,” Brinkley said. “I always knew I wanted work in something related to sports, so to have a job right out of college in a field I was interested in was a dream come true.”
Brinkley was a sports connoisseur growing up – there was rarely a sporting event he didn’t watch or play in. When he began to think about a future career, sports journalism seemed like a solid fit – which led Brinkley to Mizzou. Brinkley, who grew up in Linneus, Mo., was familiar with MU already from going to football games.
“It wasn’t a huge shock when I arrived, even though I was going from being in a high school class of 17 students to a university of more than 25,000 students,” Brinkley said. “I was very lucky to be in a great dorm where I met individuals who are still some of my close friends today.”
Brinkley soon realized journalism wasn’t for him, and he started to explore other degrees. He found a home in the parks, recreation and sport program.
“As I was learning about some of the other programs, I kept coming back to parks, recreation and sport,” Brinkley said. “It seemed super interesting, and it ended up being such a great fit. I never had a bad experience my entire time in the program. The faculty and staff were so welcoming and willing to help. Their doors were always open to talk about anything.”
Brinkley served in a leadership role with the Sport, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Association while at MU and also worked for nearly two years with the Mizzou Athletics ticket office. That experience was his introduction into working in the sports business world.
“That was such an important experience,” Brinkley said. “The ticket office interacted with all of the departments within athletics, so it was a great chance to see all sides of our programs. It was an interesting learning experience.”
Brinkley built on his learning experiences during his internship with the UFC.
“The UFC was exploding as a company at the time, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to grow and gain valuable hands-on experiences,” Brinkley said. “Plus, the internship was in sponsorship, which was something I knew I was interested in. And, really, who doesn’t want to go live in Las Vegas for four months in their early 20s?”
Brinkley said he was able to make numerous connections during his four-month internship. Those relationships, as well as the skills Brinkley had gained from his time at MU and within the industry, led to his full-time position as a Global Partnerships Coordinator with the UFC.
“I have a really unique role and my day-to-day varies a lot, which I enjoy,” Brinkley said. “I work in the sponsorship department and handle all business operations. If a project doesn’t fall under doing a sales deal or managing the day-to-day of a partner, it comes to me.”
Brinkley interacts with everyone in his department, including individuals in London, Brazil, Singapore, China, Australia and New York. Among many tasks, Brinkley manages the inventory for live events as well as the broadcast assets. Part of his job also includes working with assets within the Octagon.
“I handle all of the branding on the mat and work with printing to have those items prepared for each event,” Brinkley said. “I manage the logistics of getting those items to the arena and getting them placed in the correct spot.
“I’m also the UFC nerd on the team, so whenever we’re trying to decide which athlete to go to for a partnership, everyone comes to me for suggestions. That’s a really fun part of the job for sure.”
Brinkley’s job has also given him the chance to travel around the country for multiple UFC events and interact with the athletes, like Amanda Nunes.
“Even now, when I go back home and tell people what I’m up to now, they’re amazed,” Brinkley said. “I kind of brush it off, but, you know, it is pretty crazy. I’m definitely blessed to be in this position. I’m very appreciative of my time at MU and how CAFNR helped prepare me for the future.”
The CAFNR Career Services office recognizes career development as a lifelong process and is committed to helping students think about their future and work to make that future a reality. CAFNR has been incredibly successful in that regard as 99 percent of CAFNR graduates report a successful career outcome, such as employment, continuing education or military service, within six months of graduation. Also, 85 percent of CAFNR students are employed in a field directly related to their degree program after graduation.