Are you Replaceable?

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Marketing, PR, UFC

From Yahoo! Sports

This is a question everyone must consider during their careers.  Whether a fighter or a marketer, there are few people in this world that can mint themselves as “irreplaceable” to a given organization.  Although you may think of yourself as the lynchpin you may actually have one foot out the door and not even know it.

Let’s look at a recent example from the UFC.  After a loss to Charles Oliveira, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner Efrain Escudero has been cut from the promotion.  For those keeping track, he won the award in December of 2008.  Taking injuries into consideration, he served with the UFC for a little over a year before being shown the exit…

Escudero had been touted by many media outlets as a fighter with limitless potential.

Escudero's last loss via Yahoo! sports

However, outside of his win in the TUF finale, he hasn’t shown the UFC or fans much to cheer about.  He lost a few bouts and even missed weight during his last PPV appearance.  Escudero is just the second TUF winner to be cut by the organization. (You may remember Season 4 winner Travis Lutter who missed weight before his scheduled title bout with Anderson Silva as the other.)

With so many TUF alumni given multiple chances despite spotty records, why was Escudero let go so early? The problem with MMA growing so rapidly is that there is now a breadth of talent around every corner.  You got talent? Good for you, so does this other room full of people chomping at the bit to get inside.  If it isn’t just talent, what do theses other TUF guys bring to the table?

  • They always put on a show for fans – Win or lose some fighters put on performances that are remembered.  Looking for a finish will certainly keep you in Joe Silva and Dana White’s eyes. And, I hate to be cliché but you really can’t place a value on heart.
  • They are the face of the organization – Guys willing to help with UFC PR will always have spot on the roster. If a guy is willing to take the time outside of his own training to promote the organization, its events and the sport they become figure heads worth holding on to.
  • They will do what they have to – How many times have you seen someone (Leiben and Koscheck for example) take fights on short notice to ensure a card doesn’t have slip? These are things organizations remember.

Now, this post isn’t to be a complete dig at Escudero.  I don’t know the specifics of his case, and frankly no one should be him and the UFC.  My point, is to never rest on your laurels.  Always strive to do more. Talent can only get you so far. What can you do to stand out in the crowd?

  • Be willing to go that extra step.  If you just do the bare minimum of what you are assigned, you’ve likely already been forgotten.
  • Be willing to help when you don’t have to.  The people I always consider to be the go-to in a company aren’t always the ones called ‘rockstar’, they are those that step up and help those in need whether they will get credit for it or not.  The pat on the back may feel nice, but it’s not what will always keep you around.
  • Be ready to take on new programs. Rather than wait for someone else to do things the way you want it done, offer up your own services.  Is there something your company is lacking? Well, offer to kick-start that program yourself.

So, what do you bring to the table?

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