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Who (or What) Is to Blame for UFC 190′s Nonexistent Marketing Campaign?


(Photo via André Durão/Globo.)

By Santino DeFranco

Did Ronda Rousey anger the UFC gods, or is somebody in the marketing department getting fired?

What the hell is Rousey, the UFC’s cash cow up until a quaint little Irishman stole her limelight, doing headlining a barely advertised card in Brazil after about a thousand UFC events in a few weeks time? It makes me wonder if this is intentional, or if this is a marketing blunder.

Let’s put our tinfoil hats on for a bit and pretend like we can get to the bottom of something using pure speculation, and very little else. If the UFC strategically placed Rousey:

1. On the tail end of a string of UFC cards that is,

2. In a foreign country and,

3. Because of the other recent fight cards that preceded her main-event title fight, were unable to run a full marketing campaign since every preceding card needed to be marketed, thus, taking time, money, and media away from Rousey.

If the UFC did the above intentionally, it would lead me to believe that:

A. Rousey isn’t the amazing draw the UFC said she was, or,

B. She did something to anger the UFC gods.

Now, if this is just a marketing blunder, and someone thought it would be a good idea to have Ronda (we’ll assume that she really is a superstar) headline a card that would be lost in the shuffle of fight cards that were kicked off by the Conor McGregor/Chad Mendes fight, who’s head is going to be on Dana’s silver platter when the Pay-Per-View numbers come in?

But, what if Ronda isn’t the marketing savior the UFC has convinced us she was? Well, then, it means that the UFC is having more issues with it’s marketing than we all thought. I made a short editorial video about how important McGregor winning was for not only the UFC, but MMA as a whole. If Ronda isn’t pulling in the numbers, and we know that nobody besides McGregor has the power to pull in Brock/GSP/Liddell/Jones numbers, then what?

There’s a void that needs to be filled in the UFC and in all of MMA, and that’s star-power. As I say in the video, boxing had this dilemma a few years ago—they didn’t have stars to promote. They got over it when Floyd Mayweather beat Oscar De La Hoya, but it took years and some building up of superstars. The UFC has a lot of “potential” stars on its roster (Yair Rodríguez, Henry Cejudo, *cough* CM Punk *cough*), but it’s how they develop and groom those fighters that will determine if people are going to buy big ticket fights in the next few years. They need to start thinking long term marketing now, or there will be some abysmal PPV numbers while they try to find that captain to helm their warship.

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