UFC 122 The Aftermath

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Marketing, PR, UFC

Picture via UFC.om

This weekend marked another ‘successful’ UFC event free on SPIKE TV.  The card from Germany was a packed one for fans in terms of quality fights.  Yes, I’m sure we’ll hear the usual complaints from fans about how fights finished, time delays and online coverage – but I’ll reiterate my usual stance: If you don’t want to hear about it, stay away from MMA/Sports sites until the event is on and if you can finish a fight stronger, step into the cage yourself.

The only disappointment I saw in the card was the loss of Jorge Rivera vs Alessio Sakara .  As many of you know, Sakara took ill and the fight was called off.  For local MA fans, this is a disappointment as Jorge Rivera trains out of Somerville’s Sityodtong.  Hopefully we’ll see “El Conquistordore” in action again soon.

The main event featured Nate “The Great” Marquardt vs. Yushin “Thunder” Okami for the #1-contendership for the middleweight title.  As you may remember from previous posts, I had my sights on Marquardt as the next contender for the crown.  Once again, I must admit when I’m wrong.  Okami surprised me – and likely most of the MMA world – by winning a unanimous decision victory.  I’ll talk about why this is a disappointment for marketers further in this post, but certainly this is also a personal disappointment as a Marquardt fan.  This is another opportunity that “The Great” had to step up to the plate for another title shot and missed it.  Thales Leites, Chael Sonnen and now Yushin Okami.

Let it be known, Dana White himself is already giving Marquardt the same treatment as Kenny Florian as a ‘choke artist.’ Since  I’m a fan of Marquardt, I hate to see him in this comparison, but there is little in the stats that will let me argue this…

Now let’s take a step back and look at the companies that kept the light’s on for this event: Xyience, BSN, Bud Light, Boost Mobile, UFC-the-Store, Game Fly, UFConDemand, TapouT, and the move Tron: Legacy.  Once again we see that when the UFC goes abroad, the marketing dollars stay in Las Vegas.  This may well be the lowest turnout we’ve seen in Octagon spending in  a long time.

Picture via UFC.com

My Take: This was definitely not the outcome that the UFC match makers were hoping for.  Okami is a great fighter, but not necessarily a marketer’s dream.  He is a relatively one-dimensional, ground n’ pound specialist.  Although I’m a fan of fighters like Matt Hughes, Randy Couture and Matt Hamill that have similar wrestling backgrounds – they at least have some personality that can help further brand them and the UFC.  Trying to market an Okami vs Silva/Belfort title fight will be a tough one.  We have basically seen this fight already in Silva v. Sonnen.   This fight will simply look like a cheap knock-off of that fight but without the mouth of Sonnen…

Am I too harsh? Would you buy an Okami headlining PPV?

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