UFC fighter Dennis Bermudez found some viral success after a video of him breaking the Guiness World Record for drinking the most lemon juice hit YouTube. The video’s success showed Bermudez just how much attention, and therefore money, can come from creating digital content.
From the article by MMA Junkie:
“I was like, ‘How much do you make just being a YouTuber?’ And he was like, ‘I don’t know. My best month was, like, $30,000.’ I was like, ‘What? Shut up!’” Bermudez told MMAjunkie. “I was like, why am I not doing this?”
Bermudez also tracked down information on gaming platform Twitch from UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and others who live-stream to other gamers.
In the cage, Bermudez’s assets are revealed in his conditioning, heavy hands and strong wrestling. On camera, though, he said his greatest tool is his personality. Right now, he’s using the latter to build an audience, one video at a time.
For a sport that only pays the top fighters a lot of money that parallels and sometimes exceeds that of other leagues it is incredibly important for athletes to develop their own brands. Especially when considering that the window of time an athlete can make a lot of money from their performances is so small.
Distribution is free. With the internet and platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch anybody can take control of their own online presence and be in contact with all of their fans instantly, for free. Since Facebook has gone to a payment model in order to reach all of one’s fans the rush to Instagram has begun. When most of the companies I speak with want to be active in social media I tend to recommend Instagram. Instagram has a huge user base and a content feed best for brands. Also, many of the companies have a customer base that already lives on Instagram. The large marketing potential on the social network means that influencers on Instagram can make thousands of dollars for a single mention depending on how many followers they have.
For the most part, if fighters can make money without fighting and cashing in on their brand they will stop fighting. Ronda Rousey already has been executing on an exit strategy that would push her into Hollywood as an actress in the film industry. The pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC, Demetrious Johnson, has created a following by streaming himself playing video games on Twitch. Again, this is a fighter creating a brand separate from his fighting career by marketing a certain part of himself to a certain fan base on a specific medium.
Creating a clear brand and a large following can create a second source of income, maximize one’s earning potential while playing, and extend the life of his money-making abilities well after his playing days are over.