Chris Lytle: Clarifying Promises & Marketing 101

While manufacturing the right style and being blessed with an adamantium chin have helped Lytle have the exciting bouts he’s now become known for — which have in turn led to a bevy of bonuses — one thing he hasn’t done is enter into any backstage pacts with his opponent.

“I’ve heard talk about that,” Lytle says with a laugh at the mention of a back room handshake agreement with Davis to keep the fight standing heading into their fight at UFC 93. “I’ve never had a conversation with anybody who says that; that’s never been stated, that’s never been negotiated. That’s never gonna be said to me. I don’t necessarily know if that’s right.

“That’s a part of it — there’s always a risk of a takedown in there. When you’re overly aggressive on your feet, you run the risk of being taken down. I’ve worked for many years trying to cultivate a style that makes it harder for that, but no matter what, if you’re aggressive, you run the risk of getting taken down.

“I go out there and just tell people — what I’m saying is that if I take you down, I’m not just sitting there trying to play safe; I’m going to go for the finish no matter what. So if you try and take me down, I’m going to try for the finish. If I take you down, I’m going to try for the finish.

Dan Hardy

“If we don’t go to the ground, I’m trying to knock you out, and that’s what I like about Dan — he’s going to try to knock my head off. If that’s the case, I feel like I’m going to get some opportunities to try to knock his head off, and that’s the kind of fight I like.”

It’s also the kind of fight the UFC hopes materializes from pairing the Indiana senatorial hopeful with the back-into-a-corner Brit in Sunday’s main event. In addition to looking forward to meeting Hardy in the cage, Lytle is genuinely honored to be headlining the event, and wants to give his employers a reason to book him in the final bout of another card in the future.

“I meant when I said that I take pride in the fact that the UFC felt enough about me to put me in the main event,” reiterates Lytle, touching upon something he’d said both earlier in the conversation and during last week’s conference call. “I take that seriously. There’s no way I want to go out there and make them say, `Well, that was a big mistake on our part. Never going to have Chris is the main event again.’ I want them to be like, `Dude, I want this guy.’ I want people to hear that I’m going to be on the card and decide I’m renting this, I’m watching this or whatever.

“What I think they’re doing with these free cards that they’re putting on on Sunday nights is brilliant. They’re going to be watching the free fights on TV, and when they do, they want a fight that people are going to be like, `I’ve gotta see this.’ To think that they’re thinking, `Hey, we should put Chris and Dan Hardy in there; people are gonna wanna see that’ that’s huge to me.

“It really means that a lot that what I’ve been doing, consciously or subconsciously, saying, `I just wanna fight; I’m just going to go out, leave it all out there and whatever happens happens,’ I’m just glad to see that they understand that, they appreciate that, and they like that.”

Not only does Lytle want to put on a good performance for the fans and his employers, but he wants to inspire other fighters to follow his lead and embrace the entertainment side of the sport as well.

“I’m hoping that some other fighters will say, `You know what? I’ve lost a couple fights, I’ve won some fights, but it’s about more than just going out there and trying to eek out a victory.’ It’s a sport, but at the same time, this is entertainment. I want to be entertained when I watch fights. Nobody watches the croquette finals or badminton because they’re not entertaining.

“The bottom line is they want to get as many people to watch this as possible. This is the entertainment business at the same time. It is a sport, but you have to have people there to watch it to make this work. People want to see whoever get knocked out, and that’s building up the next card. It’s Marketing 101 and it’s what needs to be done.”

Class will be in session Sunday night in Milwaukee.

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