Win or lose, fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey can consistently draw large numbers of MMA fans to tune in to their fights. What is their secret? Or is it basic marketability and can it be duplicated?
Most of us watch MMA to see our favorite fighters win. Sometimes we watch to see someone lose. Either way, a select few fighters are able to grab our attention, and wallets, much better than the rest of the roster. Why is that?
Watching MMA is like watching a movie. We crave a great plot with interesting characters and the assurance that our attendance will be rewarded with fisticuffs and fireworks.
We have broken down 9 attributes we believe make for a star in MMA.
Renowned Specialist – Fighters who are known for their specific discipline of martial arts are exciting to watch because we get to see just how good that discipline is in combat. Ronda Rousey and Judo, Demian Maia and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Fedor and Sambo, Lyoto Machida and karate are just a few of the best examples.
Appearance -Is the fighter memorable and and likable just by his/her looks?
Background Story – A background story of a fighter can cause the fans to rally behind him or root for his demise. Going far enough in either direction can draw many more eyes to the event.
Past Performances – If a fighter is known to put on great fights and score knockouts and submissions, it is a no-brainer for fight fans to tune into his next fight.
Intriguing Competition – Fighter reputations tend to be built by the wreckage left in their trail. It takes strong competition for that wreckage to be really appreciated. Sadly, most fighters outside the UFC are plagued with being undervalued due to the apparent lack of competition.
Regional Pride/Identity – Having an entire country or part of a country behind a fighter can bring massive crowds to events. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk also crossed over from WWE bringing many wrestling fans over to MMA.
Celebrity Status – When a fighter’s name becomes known outside of the MMA community, chances are that fighter has reached super stardom. And when an entire country backs you like Ireland with Conor McGregor and Canada with Georges St-Pierre, you become a pretty big celebrity.
Charisma – Can a fighter sell a fight with his/her personality? MMA is a sport that relies on great precision and deft maneuvers inside the cage/ring but sometimes the tongue is the most important muscle when convincing fans to buy tickets.
Physical Size/Stature – It is hard to not have interests peaked when massive people enter the realm of MMA. Brock Lesnar, Tim Silvia and Stefan Struve cause fans to watch in utter anxiety for a possible fight ending blow. And in comparison, it has taken a bit more time for the smaller weight classes to gain traction in the ratings due to lack of powerful finishes.
What do you think causes a fighter to rise to the top of the ratings? Let us know in the comments below.