13 July 2009 1 Comment

The UFC needs a Michael Jordan, not a Michael Vick

You stay classy, Brock Lesnar!

Before you think I'm just writing a rant (which it is), take a minute to think about how this relates in the marketing world. Its somewhere between an industrial accident and a PR stunt, depending on where the truth lies and who you believe. Either way, its creating a new branding message in the WRONG direction (in my opinion).

Now I know this subject has been beaten to death since the fight on Saturday night (which I paid $45 to watch at home in lieu of 'hitting the town' for it and probably ended up SAVING myself money, but I digress). I'm actually glad that I waited and let the whole situation "marinade" in my mind for a few days first.

Straight-up, I don't like Brock Lesnar. I've been that way since he came up and tried to make a fool out of Couture a few months ago. He's just seems like a big loud bully (ok, maybe 'big' is an understatement), which all works fine in the WWE where he's basically a trumped-up character actor with some beefcake acrobatics thrown in. The UFC is real life and we expect a little more depth in our competitors - Honestly, I don't think thats asking for too much, is it?

Yet, he continues to be the stereotypical 'bad guy' that we'd expect from the theatrical 'performances' that WWE (and WWF in the old days) deliver. He pretty much proved this on Saturday night with his bizarre victory speech with Joe Rogan (I mean, really, are supposed to give a fuck that Bud Light didn't show him any sponsorship love and Coors did? No. Why is he even fishing for sponsors at this stage in his UFC career? I like to actually semi-respect the people that schlep the crap that I buy. Just do your job, asshole. Oh yeah, nice job at calling out a big UFC corporate sponsor at the same time too.)

I also like the little weak attempt to retract the outburst on Sunday, which is just a day-after attention-whoring move to get the last drop out of it. "What did he say? OMG!" Blah, Blah, Blah.

They (He) can play their game, it may get some media coverage initially and people might be talking about it - but I personally think that its an extremely bad move, especially now in what is a VERY important time for UFC and MMA as a professional sport on the whole. They are on the cusp of, dare I say it, mainstream legitimacy - and who is our champion? Who rides on white stallions bravely carrying the shield of his beloved sport?

Some badly tattooed asshole who looks like he's one of Hitler's undead Aryan minions from 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein'? Good god, I hope to hell not.

Now I'm all for the UFC and Dana White making money. He can have diamond toilet seats for all I care - but if he's at all concerned with the 'big picture' and his legacy with the sport, he needs to rein this clown in now and do some serious marketing to try and prove to us that he's an actual interesting human being.

In a sport that naturally generates actual human drama, we don't need artificial voltage like boobie tassels, "Yo Momma so fat" moments, or fake ego battles.

People are speculating that Dana White did all this on purpose in order to try and capitalize on the type of viewership (and affiliated merchandising) that the WWE crowd generates. If thats true, if just hope that he realizes that he's taking his (and the UFCs) credibility down several critical notches at the same time.

Maybe I'm wrong, and its all really a big "mis-understanding" and "mis-communication".

I guess we'll all know the answer to that is on the next Pay-Per-View event Brock rides up to the Octagon on a Harley-Davidson with a big snake around his shoulders and his silicone encumbered 'wife' on the back (oh, and don't forget the Coors Light girls behind them).

Yikes. Then maybe its time start watching something else instead.

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