How Much Does the UFC Value Their Brand?

Let’s start from the beginning

If you’re living under a rock and didn’t see, or haven’t heard, what happened on October 6th at UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor, let us explain in a nutshell.

Basically, there has been bad blood between the two MMA fighters Khabib and McGregor for a while now. They fought on October 6th and Khabib won by submission, which should’ve been the end of it. But, after the fight, he jumped out of the octagon and went after one of McGregor’s cornermen. At the same time, two of his teammates jumped into the octagon and attacked McGregor. McGregor didn’t fight back (except out of defense) and was escorted out of the arena. After a lot more drama, Khabib was also escorted out.

Since the fight and aftermath, fans and non-fans are pretty much split 50/50. Some say McGregor deserved it for all the trash talk before the fight. Some say brawls like that are a disgrace to the sport of MMA and should be saved for WWE.

So What’s This Got to do With Your Business?

The short answer, this is a perfect example of how you should handle disappointment and unmet expectations within your business when they try to derail your brand. When difficult decisions arise within your company, it forces you to decide what you really value.

At this point, everyone’s waiting to see what the UFC’s official decision will be: Strip Khabib of his title and ban him from fighting, or let it go.

The question is, what are Dana White and the UFC willing to do to maintain their image as a legitimate sport? In the post-fight press conference, White stated “I’ve been working hard for 18 years to build this sport… I know there’s a lot of media here tonight. For some of you this is your first event. I promise you this is not what a mixed martial arts event is normally like.”

From a business standpoint, the UFC is at a crossroads.

First, they could make bank if they decide not to kick Khabib out of the UFC. They could schedule a re-match for a few months from now and it would rake in the cash. But that would simultaneously destroy the brand White and his team has worked hard to build since they launched.

When something like this hits your company it would probably be on a much smaller scale. Still, the question you’ll have to ask yourself is what are you willing to sacrifice to maintain the culture and image of your brand? Even if no one will ever see the crisis except your current employees, decisions like this determine the true success of companies big and small.

The thing is, no matter what decision White comes to, 50% of people will disagree. if Khabib is stripped of his title and banned, 50% of people will be on board with the decision and 50% will say it’s an overreaction. Same the other way around if they do nothing but give him a slap on the hand.

But that can’t matter. It’s comes down to how White and the UFC want the world to see their sport. It’s about what they truly value about their company and brand.

Purpose Before Profit

If you walk into Wolf & Key, this is one of the first phrases you’ll read because it’s plastered on our wall. UFC 229 is the perfect example of large scale purpose before profit thinking. But we’ve experienced plenty of small-scale purpose before profit opportunities within WK, even in our relatively short time as a company.

Guaranteed, you’ll experience these as well, no matter how big your company is. We’re here to tell you that those small-scale decisions matter. Whether it’s choosing to let someone go who’s hurting your team. Whether it’s choosing to not take any new clients for a certain amount of time so that you can figure out ways to serve current clients better. Whatever it is, these things determine the culture, image, and health of your company.

We’ll leave you with these final thoughts

What do you really value as a company? Even if you’re a freelancer or you’re tin business solol, you need to ask yourself the same question.

What’s the true purpose of your company?

When something hits your company that has the potential to derail it, what are you willing to sacrifice to maintain the culture and brand image you want?

If you’re interested in learning what the co-founders of WK have said about how important it is to build the culture of your business, and how to go about that, check out this blog post we wrote a while back.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so let us know in the comments or on any of our social media accounts!

If you’d like to hear more about what Dana White has to say about the ramifications of UFC 229, check out his full post-fight press conference. Looking at it from a business standpoint, he has some interesting things to say.