Conor McGregor Social Media World Champion
Until recently, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) occupied a similar position in TV sports rosters, and most viewer’s minds, as Sumo wrestling or Worlds Strongest Man contests.. an oddity relegated to 4 am slots with a very small and dedicated fanbase. Surely too violent for mainstream consumption.
That is until one man burst onto our screens and, quite literally, changed the game.
Cruising to the office. #FightNight #UFC196 pic.twitter.com/qumGHvujKU
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 6, 2016
It was just over two years ago that Conor McGregor signed his first contract with MMA’s premiere organisation, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Around this time, too, he became the subject of a documentary for RTE
. His talent and dedication to the sport became obvious immediately and, combined with his mischievous ‘cheeky-chappie’ antics, he quickly won a unique position amongst our sports heroes; can you imagine another Irish athlete with the nickname ‘Notorious’? (Michelle Smith doesn’t count)
The Hype Train
The ‘hype-train’ was rolling. Conor’s Instagram account has been well-curated since day one and has the mark of a media professional; carefully selected training pics, fan-art and even product-placement for sponsors.
He has amassed 4.2 million followers there and, in MMA, is second only to the dethroned queen of Women’s UFC, Ronda Rousey, 7.2m. Compare his following to Jon Jones, however, who is widely regarded as the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ at just 1.5m and you can understand that there is something special about this guy.
The angel and the King. pic.twitter.com/z2p59vaVqm
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 29, 2016
‘Personal brand’ is a bit of a buzz-phrase at the moment.. employees are being encouraged to stand-out on social media, to create and share content that gives insights into their personality, to show their human side while remaining professional.
To the average employee it can be difficult to see a correlation between your social media following and your bottom-line.. in the Pay-Per-View World of prizefighting, points mean prizes. Conor has three of the four top-grossing fights in UFC history and even his recent loss to Nate Diaz topped the all-time chart for p-p-v. Including all revenues, it’s expected that Conor made in excess of $10m for the loss.
All day. pic.twitter.com/OhROweQXY1
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 24, 2016
After the loss, fight commentator Joe Rogan suggested that Conor ‘might want to stay off the internet for a few days’.. that, perhaps, Conor’s ego might have been bruised, losing a fight in which he vocally predicted another win.
Not so. Conor grabbed the bull by the horns, he was magnanimous in defeat and quick to praise the victor albeit over a mouthful of humble pie – ‘I don’t say hard luck, I say well done. It was a heck of a fight. A heck of a cheque. And a heck of a party afterwards. #YoungSuccess’
Conor on Instagram
In his most recent Instagram post, Conor says he ‘loves memes’. He’s not far off being considered a meme in his own right. Contributors to Reddit/r/MMA have picked-up on the idiosyncrasies of his clipped Dublin accent and will refer to his ‘movement’ and his ability to ‘predict deez tings’.
To those familiar with Reddit they will know how harsh a crucible it can be.. neckbeards who relish nothing more than a hype train derailing and watching the carnage unfold. For now, he has managed to keep a strong following even after his first UFC loss.
His social media presence has not all been smooth-sailing. Last year there a picture surfaced of Conor posing with, what appeared to be, an assault rifle.
The matter was quickly resolved when it was explained that it was merely an airsoft toy in the picture but the incident played like the old Vaudeville truisms, adapted to the modern era – ‘No publicity is bad publicity’ and ‘Say what you want about me just use the correct #hashtag’.
Conor McGregor with 1.2 Million Followers
I haven’t mentioned Twitter (1.2m followers) or Facebook (700k) but for Conor’s key, ‘millennial’ demographic these platforms are largely irrelevant.
Conor’s west coast-tan and Italian convertibles look much more at home these days surrounded by affluenza teens and other sports celebrities on Instagram. Twitter is the domain of the man behind the man, coach John Kavanagh.
A few years older than McG, Coach Kavanagh operates well in the tight confines of 140 characters. He supports his protegee in pre-fight hype without getting his hands too dirty and was quick with humility in defeat. (It’s worth mentioning, too, that John’s younger brother is James Kavanagh, a social media celebrity in his own right! @JamesKavanagh_ )
Link to the original article by Reuben Godfrey on Irish Tech News
Image courtesy of www.214teams.com