The latest promo spot for UFC 246 goes down a very familiar road — featuring Conor McGregor, and no one else.
Back in the lead-up to UFC 207 in December 2016, the UFC chose to release one of their most stupefying promos of all time. The three-minute plus long video clip focused almost entirely on Rousey, completely overlooking Amanda Nunes — despite Nunes being the reigning women’s bantamweight champion.
Nunes, however, was being referred to as “cannon fodder” at the time by some of the execs in charge behind the scenes. There was a clear narrative at work: the story was Rousey’s comeback. That was the selling point. “To complete the story, she does need to come back and try to get that belt back,” one quote in the video explains.
Things obviously did not go according to plan. You’d think the lesson would have been learned: it’s a fight, and anyone can win. Which means anyone can lose. Yet here we are, with the latest UFC 246 promo from ESPN+ exclusively featuring Conor McGregor.
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) January 4, 2020
To be fair, this is a 30-second spot and not a feature-length promo. Other promos have featured Cerrone. This short clip, however, appears to be targeted at the casual fanbase. The ones who may only know McGregor. But in trying to appeal to the casual fans, it would seem the network is looking mainly at short-term gain. “Buy this event, because McGregor.” Forget about setting up his opponent in case Donald Cerrone — with more victories than anyone in UFC history — wins. Forget about convincing the casual fans that Cowboy is worth watching.
The whole thing is made worse by the very dated soundtrack — Eminem’s Without Me. Apparently no one ever told ESPN about the Eminem curse, but technically it only applies to walkout songs. The creative team behind this promo also feels comfortable referring to McGregor as the “most loved” fighter in the UFC.
At least if McGregor jumps ship to the WWE in a loss, as did Rousey, he has the McMahon strut down.