UFC 133: Three Rounds of Redemption

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Marketing, PR, UFC

I was recently reading all the stories popping up about the possible rebrand of the VERSUS network.  Last night it was confirmed that in January 2012 the network will no longer be “VERSUS” but will become the “NBC Sports Network.”  This rebrand will bring the UFC what it has always wanted: a broadcast partner from the big 3.  The question will be whether this rebrand sticks or falls on deaf ears.  That reality is what made me start to reflect on UFC 133, a PPV full of stars hoping to rebrand themselves.

  • With 80+ professional fights, Dennis “Superman” Hallman is looking to finally brand himself as one of the MMA elite.  His record and skill set has always had him in this category, but fan recognition is always the final indicator of that status.  With a fight on the main card, Hallman hopes to put himself back on the big stage a place he has not truly been since his UFC 33 title fight against Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver. The brand he hopes to attain? Superstar.
  • Vitor Belfort is coming off a devastating, highlight reel knockout from Anderson Silva.  You could almost hear Rob Riggle from The Hangover shouting “In the face! In.The.Face!”  Now the Phenom needs to return and prove that his loss was a fluke shot and not a sign of his questionable mental state.  The brand he hopes to attain? “The Phenom.”
  • Tito Ortiz. The Huntington Beach Bad boy is already in a rebrand phase.  Coming off his first win in 5 years, Ortiz decided to be a company man and take a fight on short notice and be the main event against “Suga” Rashad Evans.   Although the “bad boy” in nickname, Ortiz is looking to prove he is a “good company guy” here.  By taking this fight, he buys some cred with Dana White, Zuffa and the fans.  A win against Evans, the man holding the next title shot in his hands, could propel Ortiz back into contention.  The brand he hopes to attain? Champion.

With no title match on the card, these are the storylines that the UFC hopes will have enough fan interest to drive in viewership.  We’ll have to wait for the weekend to be sure.

Will you be watching UFC 133?

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