The UFC has historically paid its fighters much less than professional boxers. It has been a fighting ‘league’ as opposed to a prize fighting venue, with contracts and rather small fight bonuses for such things as ‘knockout of the night.’ No UFC champion has been able to make (from fighting) even half of what a WBO title holder has… that is until Conor McGregor stepped on the scene. I don’t think there has been a better self-marketer in sport than this Irish fighter (and that’s saying a lot!). Talent and belts won aside, just think about what McGregor has been able to do from an entrepreneurial standpoint in four short years in the UFC…
McGregor has completely shattered the pay structure, not only becoming the highest paid fighter in UFC history but now stepping into the prize fighting boxing world for a bout with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather (scheduled for August).
It’s projected McGregor will make $100 million or more for this cross-sportsman boxing match. Shockingly, the guy has never been in a professional boxing fight in his life – yet he was the only one who commanded enough brand power (in the world) to make the bout as lucrative as Mayweather demanded (the boxer famously said he would not fight again unless it was for a nine-figure pay day ).
Outside of Mayweather, no professional boxer is able to command this kind of cash from pay-per-view…
But McGregor, the mixed martial artist, somehow can – despite the pundit consensus that Conor has little chance of winning. For some context, Mayweather has never lost a boxing match in his life; and he is viewed as the GOAT. Conor, on the other hand, has never professionally boxed in his life.
So how did Conor McGregor manage to secure the biggest fight in world history, despite the masses believing it will be a rout in favour of Mayweather?
Brilliant branding and marketing!
Four Marketing Tactics Which Made Conor McGregor a Star
Pump out content like it’s life or death: Content is a kingmaker. McGregor prides himself on putting out more content than any other fighter. Whether it’s a slow news day or not, he’ll light up Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, McGregor always seems to be doing a podcast or interview whether it’s with a large production firm or a more obscure MMA outfit.
Mayweather is excited to fight McGregor because he, for once, won’t have to sell the fight and can simply focus on training due to McGregor’s non-stop marketing offensive.
Positive or negative, if McGregor is talked about in the news, he views that as a win. He knows the importance of being relevant – always. And he has something to say about virtually anything and everything.
Force yourself to back up your big mouth: It’s healthy to put pressure on yourself. In fact, pressure is what makes or breaks. Without it, you’re just existing – likely in a state of contentment. McGregor is constantly talking shit about his opponents to get a rise and sell the fight – it’s his schtick and most certainly a part of his branding and marketing efforts. But what his big mouth also does is force him to deliver, or be hugely embarrassed.
We all fear embarrassment, especially if doing something we’ve committed our lives to. McGregor knows this and uses it to fuel his training camps.
Market yourself as THE authority of your industry: This is a huge one for McGregor and especially important for entrepreneurs. Demonstrate your expertise as much as you possibly can on as many media channels as you can find.
People follow experts, not experimenters. McGregor is constantly selling himself as the next generation of super fighter, and no one else is on his level. In other words, he is an authority marketer. When he lets cameras into his training camp, McGregor demonstrates unorthodox drills, sparring techniques and so forth. You won’t see cameras filming McGregor doing generic sit-ups, although surely he does them. Instead, when the cameras are rolling, McGregor will have a trainer repeatedly punch him in the stomach as he lies on the ground with his legs and head elevated.
Every other interview, it seems, McGregor is telling the host that he’s on a higher level than everyone else and is transcending the sport – reinventing how people will fight in the future. Fans watch his training clips, and they believe it. His results are backing it up too… that helps 🙂
Believe you can do anything, no matter how big the challenge: Whether he’s challenging Brock Lesnar (a 280-pound man) or Floyd Mayweather (best boxer of all time), McGregor believes nothing is impossible. For all his talk, McGregor genuinely believes he can beat anyone, anytime, anywhere. To date, he’s backed up those words, so you can’t call him delusional.
And even if you may be viewed as delusional today, tomorrow you may not if you work at it. Be confident, be courageous and ignore the doubters – a McGregor stratagem.
There is much to garner as an entrepreneur from what Conor McGregor has accomplished. Aside from perhaps the trash talking, his marketing and branding approach has crossover in almost every industry.
P.S. I’ve sold myself and many brands as an entrepreneur. Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly entrepreneurial and marketing know-how. Let’s crush it together. Only my best content will land in your inbox.