I've been thinking about this forever, and I have always wondered why there are not more superstar's in MMA. Most of the fighter's are unbelievably athletic, have incredible physique's, and most of all can kick an ordinary guy's ass. Yet, there are only a handful of fighter's in MMA that have that crossover appeal. The problem lies in fighter's not expressing themselves and letting the casual fan know anything about them. Is it the respect value that you see most martial artist exude toward their opponent? In promo's before a fight...you see fighter A say something to the effect of "I'm sure fighter B has worked hard for this fight...he's well rounded and I respect him...but I'm just gonna impose my will on him." In turn...fighter B retorts a similar statement towards fighter A. That is not how you sell a fight...below are my 5 steps to superstardom (in no particular order)
#1. You Must Win Fights Convincingly-No matter how good you are at promoting yourself and trash talking...if you are not winning most of the time or at least have the potential to win with one punch...forgetaboutit.
#2. Do Interviews-Most of the time, fighter's depend on the organization they fight for to promote them. Fighter's must learn to promote themselves and couple that with the promotion they receive from their organzation to reach the masses. Fighter's have MANY sources from which to choose from...like Website Forums, Newspapers, Internet Radio Shows, and the list goes on. Tito Ortiz does this well...he has his own website...always does interviews, and posts on the underground forum from time to time.
#3. Learn How To Sell A Fight/Have Personality- Phil Baroni is a master at this...even with a record of 10-10...you STILL would want to see one of his fights. Anyone else with a record like that...and you wouldn't even think watching them fight for the most part. However, Baroni knows how to push the buttons of his opponents and has developed a persona to get his point across. No, I don't want you to cut promo's like guys in the WWE...but at least be articulate enough to talk some smack. Learn how seperate yourself from the other fighter's....Liddell has the mowhawk....Rampage has the big chain/howl...GSP breakdances after everyone win...you get the drift.
4. Take What The Fans Give You-Josh Koscheck is a fantastic fighter and a prime example. At this point in his career it's clear that most fans do not like him and want to see him lose. Why not embrace that and play to the crowd? Again, I'm not saying go WWE with it or be abrasive towards the crowd. Just find a niche` that works to your advantage and makes people WANT to see you fight/lose. The bottom line is they WANT to see you fight...which is all that matters when it all boils down. Then if you contract is so that you get a % of the PPV buys...then guess what you are getting PAID!
#5.Speak The Native Language-If you are an American and you are fighting in Japan...then learn some Japanese. If you are Brazilian and you are fighting in America...then learn some English. I'm not saying get a Bachelor's degree or anything...however, you must learn enough to at least conduct the post fight interview so the fans can understand you somewhat. Taking that initiative let's the fans know you care enough about them to communicate with them. Wanderlei Silva has made this change...and it's starting to pay big dividends for him.