Conor McGregor returns to the UFC in a couple of weeks, so the MMA world is buzzing with anticipation about seeing the sport’s biggest superstar back in the Octagon against Donald Cerrone on Jan. 18 at UFC 246 in Las Vegas.
The fight will be distributed via ESPN+ pay-per-view, so ESPN has been super busy pumping out promotional assets about the fight on its airways and via its various social media channels in order to hype the event.
But one of the latest advertisements making the rounds doesn’t even mention Cerrone. The ad was pushed heavily during the broadcast of the NFL playoffs over the weekend, and it featured only highlights of McGregor with rapper Eminem’s “Without Me” playing in the background.
ESPN’s Move Makes Sense From Marketing Perspective
While the ad is somewhat of a slight to Cerrone in that his name isn’t even seen in the video once, it does at least appear to make some sense from a marketing perspective. After all, McGregor is the highest-selling UFC PPV fighter in the history of the company, so it stands to reason that he’d be the main carrot ESPN wants to dangle in front of potential PPV buyers.
While Cerrone is incredibly popular among those in the hardcore MMA community, it’s safe to say that most fans who follow Cerrone’s career closely are already the types of fans who planned on purchasing UFC 246 anyway.
What ESPN is after specifically with this kind of promo video are general sports fans. McGregor is one of the few MMA fighters in the world today that is actually known within the mainstream sports world, so ESPN is hoping the prospect of seeing the Irishman back in action is enough to sway those potential PPV buyers into making the purchase.
Donald Cerrone Probably Doesn’t Care He Wasn’t Featured
Cerrone is one of the most laidback fighters in the sport.
He didn’t care when Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz took the “BMF” concept Cennone introduced to the sport many years before and turned it into a huge PPV event earlier this year at UFC 244 where Masvidal stopped Diaz for the first-ever BMF title. He probably also doesn’t care about this one promotional video either.
Besides, Cerrone knows the most important thing to his career has nothing to do with what kinds of promotional assets the UFC’s various stakeholders create during the buildup to the fight. The 36-year-old American has been after a fight against McGregor for a long time, and the opportunity is now right here in front of him.
Beyond that, the more people who buy the PPV is better for both fighters. Cerrone knows that. So while he might have been slighted by producers a little in this one video, he probably won’t even remember any of it if he ends up pulling off the shocking victory anyway.