The King Mo-Rampage Jackson scuffle Friday night could be exactly what Bellator needs right now as it looks to gain attention for the start of its new season.
Was it real? Was it fake? Who cares. It’s good television.
Bellator right now can’t compete with the UFC as a global brand in the MMA marketplace. Bellator must distinguish itself from the UFC and the skirmish after Jackson’s KO victory Friday did exactly that.
Jackson screamed into the microphone in his post-fight interview:
“Listen, these guys, they think I am finished? They said they are going to retire me? I took that personal. Bellator, you don’t know what you all are messing with. I am a monster. I am taking everybody out. Anyone who steps into this cage, they are going to sleep.”
Let’s take a closer look at Jackson’s quote:
Jackson hit on all the correct talking points for this promo. What critics of this style of MMA entertainment don’t understand is that interviews like this are not about the facts. They are about emotionally connecting with people in order to get them to pay money to watch your next fight.
Jackson is trying to get people excited about his fight. Let’s deconstruct his quote:
“Listen, these guys, they think I am finished?” Here Jackson sets the foundation for the conversation. This is going to be an interview about how he is now the underdog looking to shut the critics up.
“They said they are going to retire me? I took that personal.” Now Jackson extends the underdog role further, and let’s people know that this issue is personal for him. When fans believe fighting is personal, and not just a way to make money, they tend to connect more with the fight and the person. Fans now feel like they are rooting for Jackson the person and the fighter.
“Bellator, you don’t know what you all are messing with.” Now Jackson frames himself as not just an underdog in the cage, but a guy who is taking on the whole organization, and all of MMA really, as the aging fighter who is not done, but actually is still in his prime. Jackson has now put himself in a “One Man Against The Establishment” role.
“I am a monster.” Here Jackson let’s us know, in a really simple term, how he wants to be perceived. We all know what a monster is. We are supposed to fear monsters.
Jackson then perpetuates the storyline and conflict that he created by declaring war on everybody. “I am taking everybody out. Anyone who steps into this cage, they are going to sleep.”
In about a minute, Jackson recreated himself. He’s longer the ex-UFC guy who tapped out to Jon Jones. He’s the monster from the grave coming back to take revenge on everyone who doubted him.
Finally, Jackson ends his amazing promo with what he absolutely had to do. It’s not good enough when trying to sell tickets to just get people fired up for no reason. You have to make fans know what’s to come next. Jackson did that and now we all have something really cool to look forward to.
When he looked and shouted and King Mo, we knew he was selling his next fight and bringing it home. This was the go-home line, and the reason for the interview promo.
“You, you next. You next. You next. I am the an in Bellator now. I took your spot.”
King Mo, looking really irate, then faked like he wanted to attack Jackson before security broke it up.
King Mo was fired up. Jackson was on fire. It was exactly the kind of energy Bellator needed.
This kind of thing is not going to appeal to the hardcore MMA fan. Guess what? It’s not supposed to. The hardcore MMA fan is going to watch no matter what. This kind of MMA theatre is great for the casual fan and it’s the casual fan that Bellator is after. The core audience will always be there. Great businesses seek growth opportunities.
Bellator knows it has a growth opportunity by entertaining MMA fans, in addition to showcasing great MMA action.
Bellator needs more of the King Mo-Jackson drama. Friday night’s spectacle was a great start to what could be an amazing MMA feud.