Trash Talk to Ticket Sales: The Power of Cutting Promos in Combat Sports

April 6, 2023
From: Spartacus
Featured image for “Trash Talk to Ticket Sales: The Power of Cutting Promos in Combat Sports”

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “promo” is short for “promotion” and it refers to the various ways that fighters in combat sports (like boxing, MMA, or wrestling) hype up their upcoming fights.

Promos are incredibly important in combat sports because they help to build excitement and anticipation for a fight, which in turn can lead to more ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. A good promo can get fans fired up and invested in a fight, making them more likely to tune in and watch.

Promos can come in many forms, including interviews, press conferences, social media posts, and even pre-fight trash talking. The best promos are usually the ones that feel authentic and genuine, with the fighter’s personality and passion shining through.

Let’s take a closer look at how fighters in combat sports use interviews, press conferences, social media, and trash talk to build excitement for their fights and connect with fans. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of combat sports or just curious about the behind-the-scenes world of fight promotion, this article is for you! We’ll dive into the history of promos in combat sports, break down the different elements of a great promo, and explore the role of social media in modern-day fight promotion.

History of Promos in Combat Sports

Promos in combat sports have been around for a long time, although they’ve taken different forms over the years.

In boxing, for example, fighters have been promoting their fights through interviews and press conferences since the early 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the rise of television in the 1950s and 60s that promos really started to become a major part of the sport. Boxers like Muhammad Ali were famous for their trash-talking and witty banter in interviews, which helped to build excitement for their fights.

In wrestling, promos have been a part of the sport since its early days in the late 19th century. However, it wasn’t until the advent of televised wrestling in the 1950s and 60s that promos really started to take off. Legendary wrestlers like Ric Flair and “Macho Man” Randy Savage were known for their over-the-top promos that blended humour, drama, and hype.

In more recent years, the rise of social media has given fighters in all combat sports new ways to promote their fights and connect with fans. Many fighters now use platforms like Twitter and Instagram to share behind-the-scenes glimpses of their training camps, interact with fans, and build excitement for their upcoming fights.

The Anatomy of a Promo

What makes a successful promo? Below is a breakdown of some of the different elements that can make up a successful promo:

  • Tone: The tone of a promo can be serious, humorous, confrontational, or any number of other things. If a fighter wants to come across as serious and intimidating, they might use a more somber tone. If they want to be entertaining and playful, they might use a more lighthearted tone. The tone should match the personality of the fighter and the nature of the fight.
  • Pacing: The pacing of a promo is important to keep the audience engaged. A good promo should have a mix of slow and fast moments to build tension and excitement. For example, a fighter might start off by speaking slowly and seriously, and then ramp up the energy and pace as they get more into the trash talk and hype.
  • Delivery: The delivery of a promo refers to how the fighter speaks and uses body language. They should be confident, clear, and engaging in their delivery, with good eye contact and body language. They should be able to project their personality and charisma to the audience through their words and actions.
  • Content: The content of a promo is what the fighter actually says. It should be attention-grabbing, memorable, and relevant to the fight. This can include trash talk, personal anecdotes, or descriptions of the fighter’s training and preparation. The content should be well-crafted and delivered in a way that resonates with the audience.
  • Authenticity: Perhaps most importantly, a great promo should feel authentic and genuine. The fighter should be true to themselves and their personality, rather than trying to play a character or force a persona. If the fighter is genuine and passionate about what they’re saying, the audience is more likely to connect with them and become invested in their story.

These elements work together to create a compelling and effective promo that can build excitement and anticipation for a fight. A well-crafted promo can help fans connect with the fighter and become invested in their story, making them more likely to tune in and watch the fight.

Examples of Great Promos in Combat Sports

Below are some examples of great promos in MMA history:

Conor McGregor: McGregor is known for his flamboyant personality and his ability to talk trash and hype up his fights. Some of his most memorable promos include his pre-fight interviews for his fights against Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

 

Watch more Here and Here

Chael Sonnen: Sonnen was another fighter known for his trash-talking and his ability to promote his fights. His pre-fight interviews for his fights against Anderson Silva and Jon Jones were particularly memorable.

 

Watch more Here.

Ronda Rousey: Rousey was a dominant force in women’s MMA, and her pre-fight promos were often as captivating as her fights. Some of her most memorable promos include her interviews for her fights against Miesha Tate and Holly Holm.

 

Watch more Here.

These are just a few examples of the great promos in MMA history. Fighters like McGregor, Sonnen, and Rousey have mastered the art of cutting promos and have helped to elevate the sport through their ability to connect with fans and build excitement for their fights.

How Fighters Prepare for Promos

Preparing for a promo is just as important as preparing for a fight, as a well-crafted and delivered promo can help build interest and anticipation for the fight. Here are some ways that fighters prepare for promos:

Research

Before a promo, fighters often do their research on their opponent, studying their past fights, interview history, and social media presence. This helps them to understand their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and to come up with effective trash talk and hype.

Scripting

While many fighters prefer to speak off the cuff during promos, others prefer to script their statements and trash talk in advance. This can help ensure that their message is clear and effective, and that they hit all of the points they want to make.

Rehearsing

Just like with a fight, practicing and rehearsing a promo can help a fighter feel more confident and prepared. They can work on their delivery, pacing, and timing, and make adjustments as needed.

Getting into Character

Some fighters like to get into character before a promo, psyching themselves up and getting into the right mindset. This might involve visualization techniques, listening to music, or doing a quick workout to get the adrenaline flowing.

Working with a Team

Many fighters work with a team of trainers, coaches, and publicists to help them prepare for promos. They may do mock interviews with their team to practice their trash talk and delivery, or work with a PR expert to craft their message and strategy.

Whether they prefer to script their statements or speak off the cuff, the key is to be authentic, confident, and engaging in their delivery.

mma promo scene

The Importance of Authenticity in Promos

Authenticity is crucial when it comes to promos in combat sports. Audiences can easily tell when a fighter is being insincere or trying too hard to play a character, and this can lead to a lack of connection and interest. Here are some reasons why authenticity is so important in promos:

Builds trust: When a fighter is authentic in their promos, it builds trust with the audience. The audience can sense when a fighter is being genuine and sincere, and this can make them more invested in the fighter and their story.

Shows personality: A fighter’s personality is a big part of what makes them interesting and engaging to watch. When a fighter is authentic in their promos, they are able to show off their personality and charisma to the audience. This can help to build a connection with the audience and make them more invested in the fighter and the fight.

Creates excitement: An authentic promo can create excitement and anticipation for a fight. When a fighter is genuinely passionate and fired up about their upcoming bout, it can help to get the audience excited and invested in the fight as well.

Sets expectations: When a fighter is authentic in their promos, they are setting expectations for the fight. If a fighter hypes up a fight too much and then fails to deliver, it can lead to disappointment and frustration from the audience. By being authentic in their promos, fighters can help to set realistic expectations for the fight and avoid disappointing their fans.

The Role of Social Media in Promoting Fights

Social media has become an increasingly important tool for promoting fights in combat sports. In today’s digital age, fighters and promoters can use social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to build hype and generate interest in upcoming fights.

One of the main advantages of social media is its ability to build hype and anticipation for a fight. Fighters can share training footage, trash talk, and other promotional content on their social media channels to generate buzz and excitement among their followers. Promoters can also use social media to share promotional materials, such as trailers and posters, and to engage with fans and influencers to spread the word about an upcoming fight.

Another important role that social media plays in promoting fights is its ability to allow fighters to engage directly with their fans. Social media provides a platform for fighters to respond to comments and messages from fans, share behind-the-scenes glimpses of their training and preparation, and create a sense of connection and community with their followers. This engagement can help to build a loyal fanbase and generate interest and excitement around a fighter’s upcoming fights.

Finally, social media can also help to increase the reach and visibility of fights beyond traditional media outlets.

The Impact of Promos on Ticket Sales and Pay-Per-View Buys

Promos are essential in driving ticket sales and pay-per-view buys in combat sports. The ability to promote a fight effectively can generate excitement and anticipation among fans, which ultimately leads to increased demand for tickets and pay-per-view purchases. Well-executed promos can effectively capture the attention of potential viewers, heighten their interest, and create a sense of anticipation for the fight.

In particular, promos help to build hype around a fight. The use of music, sound effects, and dramatic voiceovers can create a sense of drama and suspense, while shots of fighters in action or engaging in intense stare-downs can increase excitement and anticipation. The more hype there is around the fight, the more likely it is that fans will tune in or buy tickets to see it live.

Moreover, promos also play a significant role in creating a buzz on social media platforms. Many promotions post teasers or snippets of promos on social media platforms to build excitement and hype around the fight. This can help reach a wider audience and generate more interest and engagement. Fighters who are active on social media can also help to spread the word and promote the fight through their own platforms, further expanding the reach of the promo and generating more interest.

successful promo

How Promos Can Make or Break a Fight’s Commercial Success

Promos can make or break a fight’s commercial success because they play a significant role in generating interest and hype around the fight. A poorly executed promo can fail to capture the attention of potential viewers, which can lead to low ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. On the other hand, a well-executed promo can effectively build excitement and anticipation, which can lead to increased demand for tickets and pay-per-view purchases.

If a fight fails to generate buzz, it can quickly fall into obscurity, even if the fighters involved are world-class athletes. In contrast, a fight with a well-executed promo can generate interest from casual fans and viewers who may not typically follow the sport. This can result in a more significant audience and higher revenue from ticket sales and pay-per-view purchases.

Moreover, promos can impact the perception of a fight among fans. If a promo effectively captures the personalities and storylines of the fighters involved, it can generate emotional investment from viewers. This emotional investment can translate to higher engagement, social media buzz, and overall interest in the fight.

Successful Fights with Promos Leading the Charge

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II: This fight was heavily promoted, with both fighters engaging in a memorable press conference where they exchanged insults and trash talk. The promos leading up to the fight effectively captured the intense rivalry between the two fighters, and the fight ended up being one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in UFC history.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao: This fight was promoted for years, with both fighters engaging in trash talk and media appearances to build hype. The promos leading up to the fight effectively captured the anticipation and excitement of fans, and the fight ended up being the highest-grossing boxing match in history.

Fights that Failed To Meet Expectations

Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia: This fight was promoted poorly, with Silva refusing to engage in trash talk and media appearances leading up to the fight. The lackluster promos failed to generate interest among fans, and the fight ended up being a disappointment, with Silva being criticized for his lack of effort.

Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis: The promos leading up to this fight were lackluster, failing to effectively capture the personalities and storylines of the fighters. As a result, the fight failed to generate much interest among fans, and it ended up being one of the lowest-rated UFC pay-per-views of the year.

Conclusion

The art of cutting promos is an essential part of the combat sports industry. It’s the tool that fighters and promoters use to generate excitement and anticipation for their events, and it can make all the difference when it comes to ticket sales and pay-per-view buys. From the elements of tone, pacing, delivery, and content, to the importance of authenticity and the power of social media, cutting promos is a complex and nuanced skill that takes practice and dedication to master.

Whether you’re a fan of combat sports or simply interested in the art of promotion, it’s clear that cutting promos will continue to be a critical part of the industry for years to come. So, let’s sit back, watch some amazing fights, and see what the future holds!

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