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 UFC needs to market "stars."

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PostSubject: UFC needs to market "stars."   Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:48 pm


By: IronHorse
@Ironhorse_somo
June 29, 2014

I can't remember where, but awhile back, I read an interview with pro wrestling commentator Jim Ross (Or "Good ole J.R.", to wrestling fans,) where it came to light that he was also a fan of the UFC. In the interview, he said that he thought the UFC should take a page from the WWE play-book, and market its fighters as "stars." Now, this was a couple of months back, when I read this, and since then, I've just kind of let the idea roll around in my head, and come to the conclusion that Jim Ross is absolutely correct.

I'm not saying the UFC should go full-on WWE, and start creating drama between its fighters, or coming up with "kayfabe" story lines - nothing like that. Think of it more as "WWE light." In the WWE, almost every week, the wrestlers spend a few minutes in front of a microphone, spewing hatred at their upcoming opponents, and making dire threats toward their health, and so on - allowing viewers to get a feel for the persona they've created for themselves, and have something of an emotional interest in upcoming matches.

What I'd like to see the UFC do is, take better advantage of the social media outlets that are already out there for free (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), and let us get to know the fighters a little bit. Have someone interview the fighters, let them explain their history in martial arts, and their lives outside the ring, are they married or single? What do they like to do besides train and fight?, and so on, then put the video up on YouTube  Allow the viewing audience to connect on a slightly deeper level with the fighters, instead of "Oh, here's another undercard fighter - oh yeah, and he's from Brazil."

Some fighters have already learned self promotion well - a few notable examples are Chael Sonnen (the master!), Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar, and Pat Barry and Rose Namajunas (who have been very active on YouTube and Instagram, giving us small glimpses into their lives, or just doing goofy stunts, which are good for a laugh.) Of course, Shamrock and Lesnar were both in WWE at some point, and I'd be willing to bet they learned self-promotion there.

The UFC does seem to have a "marketing and P.R. department," but the only people it really seems to "get behind" and promote is its reigning champions. They come up with some pretty slick vignettes to promote upcoming title fights, that tell us a little bit about champion and challenger, their drives, desires, etc. But, unless you're holding or contending for a title, there seems to be a conspicuous absence of any promotion from the UFC.

How hard would it be for the UFC to create a section called "Meet the fighters," on their YouTube page, and add in some hyper links from their advertisements for upcoming fights to a brief interview with the individual combatants? 

My point being (and I think Jim Ross' as well) that; The more we know about the fighters as individuals, the more we can feel "connected" to them as more than "just another undercard fighter," the more likely we are to buy the next pay-per-view, or pay the subscription fee for "Fight Pass." Which equals more money in the UFC's coffers. Where's the "lose" in this situation?
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PostSubject: Re: UFC needs to market "stars."   Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:38 pm

Yeah they do... and right now they're struggling with the loss of so many legendary names that were MMA's stars for years and years.

Chael made strides in the trash-talking aspect of making stars shine or at least stand-out in the UFC, and other have tried to emulate him with no success... imitation of something on the level of what Chael Sonnen did, is very rarely duplicated.

I'm sure the UFC is aware that they need to do something to not only promote the UFC brand, but also their roster of starts and potential stars... but right now the UFC seems focused on simply promoting the company, and boosting the subscription numbers for the Fight Pass channel on YouTube.

...and I agree with you and JR in regard to feeling connected to fighters, if I feel like I know a bit about the fighter as a person I'm more likely to become "vested" in that fighter.

I know there are quite a few fans who don't care about fighters as individuals, and just want to see them fight... but that's just not me.

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PostSubject: Re: UFC needs to market "stars."   Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:37 pm

I like the idea of a "Meet the fighters" type of program.
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PostSubject: Re: UFC needs to market "stars."   Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:57 pm

Bumping Thread since there's a lull in action before the next event.

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