This video has been up for 11 mos and is still the feature video on the main page of the UFC YouTube channel. Why? Because the UFC is one of the smartest marketing brands in the world.  If you take care of your fans, they take care of you. Love it.


Fox Sports 1 Broadcast

Posted: August 20, 2013 in Local MMA, Marketing, PR, UFC

I was unable to watch the UFC in Boston event as I was out of town, but from the looks of it – fans go their money’s worth out of this card. I’ll be watching a DVR’d version of the event and will have thoughts up on the blog later this week. (Yes, I know who all the winners are but I’d rather see it myself before adding my 2 cents.)

What is the one question I ask on a semi regular basis? (Ok, beyond the question of when MMA will be completely mainstream…)  The answer: when will we see the next Gina Carano?

Despite my earlier misgivings, the answer is quite clear: she is here, she is the current UFC champion, and her name is “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.  She has headlined UFC PPVs successfully, will co-headline the end of year PPV spectacular  (alongside Weidman-Silva II), has an upcoming spot as the captain of The Ultimate Fighter and is dominating magazine covers left and right.

She took the reigns as the “face of the sport” and has done well upholding herself as a champion and an ambassador for MMA and the UFC in particular. The problem? The world has taken notice.  Rousey has recently signed on for two films next year, The Expendables 3 and Fast & Furious 7.

This is not bad news for Rousey, this is an incredible boost to her own personal brand and an exit to the fight game when she is ready.  The problem for the UFC is that if others like Miesha Tate do not rise to the occasion the way Rousey did there is nothing to fall back on. This is the exact spot Strikeforce and women’s MMA was in back when then juggernaut Gina Carano stepped away from the cage and stepped up to the cameras.

Is Rousey’s heart in Vegas or Hollywood? We’ll see – but frankly, I’ll watch no matter where she winds up.  She has proven to be a class act and the real deal in terms of skill sets.

Three years ago I proudly watched as the UFC FINALLY came to Boston, MA.  I enjoyed the fan expo…I took in the city’s coverage of the sport via online, print and broadcast. As an MMA fan and a marketer, it was a dream come true.  Now, three years later – where is that same magic?

Rua-Sonnen headlines an event at TD Garden that will be part of a live FOX broadcast.  Not just any Fox broadcast but the birth of its new Fox Sports network (Fox Sports 1). Yet, I see no signs of it anywhere in the city. I have not seen any preshow pieces on fighters in the local papers, a few brief teasers on TV( but nothing substantial), and nothing on the local radio stations.

Am I crazy? Has my sports-enthralled city lose its MMA heartbeat, or did the UFC brush this one under the carpet since there is no title fight in the headliner?

I get it. Adding Rampage to the roster would lend “credibility” to some low base MMA fans that do not understand the sport but at least know a few marquee names.  Adding Rampage to the TNA roster was awful idea, lowering the sport and the brand equity of Rampage. But again, as a business move for Bellator…I get it.  Take one audience and bring it over to your product.

Now, we go a step further.  Tito Ortiz – love him, or hate him – is a UFC hall of famer.  He is one of the founding fathers of modern day MMA and one of the pioneers of the marketing fight game.  No one could hype a fight and back it up the way Tito could in his prime.  His prime however, has long passed by and his retirement should have remained final.  Shamrock-Ortiz was one of my favorite rivalries.  I admit I was always on the losing side of it as I was often cheering on the World’s Most Dangerous Man.  However, as the years passed by I had hoped that at least one of these fighters would not sink into a sad state of continued fighting.  Shamrock we know will fight until he is Randy the Ram, literally fighting for his life in the ring.  Ortiz, as a business man, I thought would have moved on and away from the cage.

And here we are.  Recently announced is the main event fight of Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  This is a light heavyweight fan’s dream fight…if it were 2005.

Sadly, it is not 2005.  It is 2013.  Of their combined last 6 fights, there has not been a W among them.

Although Bellator is using two big MMA names to draw in fans for their first PPV event, this could be disastrous for the organization.  You only get one shot at impressing and audience and if this fight falls flat it could be a similar fate as Affliction or the IFL.

Am I being too harsh? Are you interested in this fight?  Tell me why or why not.

Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate Tour ESPNWomen’s MMA is in need of a serious boost.  It does not lack talent or desire from its fighters but certainly needs a shot of adrenaline for uneducated fans.  Much like other sports it is unfortunately women are hitting a bit of a hurdle in order to gain followership.  Even with the strong push of UFC President Dana White, the perception is that the women’s division is a bit of a one trick pony in “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.  With the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter we will bring audiences a new slew of female fighters to cheer for.

But contestants aside, what will be the true igniter for this division is the heated rivalry between the coaches – current champion Rousey and challenger Miesha Tate.  Tate, a former Strikeforce champion has battled Rousey and lost before.  She has everything to gain in this redemption match and because of it, the UFC will benefit.  All reports state that this season is the most heated it has every been between coaches.  This speaks volumes when we look back at some of the previous rivalries:

  • Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz
  • Jens Pulver vs. BJ Penn
  • Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
  • Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans

Although I tend to hate the drama of reality TV, if this is true and these two fighters truly hate each other that much it means the UFC is going to be flooded with viewers for TUF (something it has lacked over many seasons) and will give the end of year PPV another pump of viewers.  With Rousey-Tate and Weidman-Silva on the main card, the UFC could see the type of numbers it used to project whenever Brock Lesnar stepped into the cage.

Will you be watching TUF this season?