These days if you’re looking to make the big bucks in MMA you better be a damn good talker. While fighting ability should be the end all be all, the reality is that if you’re looking to get truckloads of money then you’re going to have to market yourself the right way. There’s nothing like a good story line to hang your hat on and it’s exactly what the fans want to see. Ticket sales and pay-per-view purchases can’t simply be sold on the prospect of a good performance. Personalities are what sell these days and if you’re looking to get things done and move the needle in your favor then you better have a good marketing plan set up.
There’s a reason why everyone has been taking the “Conor McGregor” approach these days. What McGregor and Ronda Rousey have done for the sport is revealed the truth behind success in prize fighting. Being a standout, polarizing figure is what’s going to generate interest and in turn produce dough.
Yes, it’s sad that fighters have to resort to being brand these days. Somewhere in the back of our minds we still want to believe in the purity of the sport. But that kind of mindset isn’t going to pay the bills. A fighter can’t feed themselves by simply being honorable and believing in the fighting spirit (unless it’s a character that can be sold that is).
The truth is money talks, literally. If you want something in this game then you’re going to have to take it and the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Just ask Gegard Mousasi.
With the recent announcement of his bout against Chris Weidman at UFC 210, Gegard Mousasi has proven that voicing your opinions and being heard is important to get things done. He had no fights on his plate and nothing to look forward to in his immediate future. That is, until he started calling out all the fighters in the top fifteen in the middleweight division. It seemed that with enough trash talk that things were able to come together and Mousasi got the top five opponent he’s been looking for.
Do I wish prize fighting could be all about the purity of the endeavor? I certainly do. But I also realize that it’s a hard lifestyle to live and in order to make it and build a nest egg for yourself and your family then you have to do what’s necessary to generate income. These days that means creating a persona for yourself and letting everyone know it too.
What’s your thoughts on this new era of MMA?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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