In the last few years the Ultimate Fighting Championship has blown up bigger than we ever imagined and its only getting bigger. We often hear the words "the fastest growing sport in the world" when talking about MMA but at what point does it become the biggest sport in the world?
When the average American thinks of sports, they first think of Baseball, Basketball, Football or Soccer (American). These would be considered to most, mainstream sports. The UFC just signed an exclusive deal with FOX yet we're still not noticed by your average sports fans. Whats separates these "mainstream" sports from MMA?
If you turn on the TV you see commercials for Pepsi, Hanes, Gillette, Old Spice, Nissan and dozens of other major companies featuring athletes from the "mainstream" sports. I think that's what we are missing. Once MMA fighters, like myself, can start drawing in companies like Walmart, HomeDepot, IKEA, Honda, Chevy, Tide, the list goes on, we will be seen as one of the main sports worldwide. These companies bring tons of money to the table as well as exposure to every household with a TV. I would love to see an MMA fighter on a Wheaties Box.
What I’m getting at is, sponsorships/endorsements do a lot more for this sport than the average fan realizes. MMA is slowly breaking into the companies like BudLight, Miller, XBOX (Microsoft) and that’s why I send my business towards those companies. They don’t sponsor me directly but they are getting into the sport and could possibly choose to back me one day. My management, Ingrained Media, is constantly teaching me to build Chris Camozzi as a brand, not just a fighter that gets in the ring every few months and fights and you don’t see me again until the next fight.
When a company chooses to work with me you get so much more than logo placement on my shorts and banner. When we turn on the TV and see a fighters banner do we go "Oh man look at Good4UDrinks on his banner, I’m going to go order some now!". No we don't. I’m pretty sure I never noticed sponsors on shorts until I started trying to find my own. Do average fans really pay attention? Most likely not. Sponsors like Good4UDrinks get more out of me plugging them constantly on Twitter, Facebook, ChrisCamozziMMA.com, Interviews, radio shows and word of mouth than they ever would from a logo on my shorts/banner.
I feel as though this is what separates me from most fighters. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not plugging sponsors online, posting pictures, making videos with their products or sharing my opinions about them. I put a lot of work into supporting the people that help me on a day to day basis. Its nice to be able to build some financial security with sponsors on a monthly or per fight basis. Having that stability really helps me put my mind at ease and train 100% all day long.