These days, more and more fighters are using trash talk to promote themselves and their fights. Former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate understands why this happens, but believes fighters should think twice before ramping up the verbal warfare.
Speaking to BJPENN.com ahead of last weekend’s ONE: Century card, Tate explained how trash talk and bravado can sometimes end up being more damaging to a fighter’s career than helpful. If a fighter talks a big game and fails to back it up, then their brand can take a huge, often irrecoverable hit.
“When you build an icon that is based off how well they trash talk, and if they’re winning or losing, then as soon as they lose, their trash talk is no longer valuable,” Tate explained. “The star power diminishes pretty rapidly.
“When you build your audience to expect you to only win, it’s not realistic in martial arts. You’re never going to win every fight.”
Tate now works for ONE Championship, having relocated to Singapore for the job in 2018. ONE Championship takes an active stance against trash talking, and instead focusing on promoting fighters in the areas they come from; making them heroes to their countrymen. Tate believes this is a favorable strategy, as fans will continue to support their local favorites even if they lose.
“We don’t market off of a quick-sell,” Tate said. “It’s not about the rivalries or the immediate drama. “It’s about building local heroes that have global potential. They can entertain globally but they’re supported locally, by their country. There’s something really valuable about that.
“When you build somebody who is a hero to children, to people, inspiring them to be better, then it really doesn’t matter if they win or lose,” Tate added. “People are going to rally behind them harder when they lose. They’re going to say ‘That’s my hero, they’re going to come back stronger. I don’t care they lost. I’m still going to stand by them because I love that person and what they stand for.’
“The longevity of that, the long-term picture, the strong fanbase that actually care about the martial arts and care about the fighters — I think in the long run it’s a much more effective way to market [than drama].”
What do you think of these comments from Miesha Tate? Is she on the money?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/18/2019.