[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ver the last few years, the UFC (Ultimate Fighters Championship) has become for mixed martial arts (MMA) what the NBA is for basketball. In fact, what makes the UFC’s absolute dominance in its realm all-the-more impressive is the fact that unlike with other sports, the young world of MMA has been contested by more than a few different organizations, but only one has grown to epitomize the sport’s highest of levels. And a lot of that has to do with the UFC’s creative promotion and branding.
…what makes the UFC’s absolute dominance in its realm all-the-more impressive is the fact that unlike with other sports, the young world of MMA has been contested by more than a few different organizations…
Of course, the UFC wouldn’t be anything without its fighters. But there surely must be more to its meteoric rise. Because when you watch some of the UFC’s promotional videos and inside peeks into their stars’ lives, you don’t feel like you are watching fighters, but the heroes of some ancient Greek myth who are about to clash on every possible level – physical, mental, and spiritual. The UFC lets us witness fights between personalities, between characters, between different sets of beliefs and values, and last but not least, between the world’s best mixed martial artists.
UFC Countdown and UFC Road to the Octagon
UFC Countdown and UFC Road to the Octagon are the names of the creative documentary series the UFC releases the week of every major event. They feature the participants in the biggest bouts of the main card, and even if you don’t know a single thing about any of them, there’s hardly a better nor more enticing way to learn what makes them click, inside and outside the Octagon.
Their series are where good fight films’ best cinematic and storytelling practices meet a documentary-like depiction of this sport’s unmatched purity – a combination that invokes a sense of awe and affinity.
…good fight films’ best cinematic and storytelling practices meet a documentary-like depiction of this sport’s unmatched purity…
You see fighters as human, just like us, but you also come to realize some humans are just cut from a different, sturdier cloth. Each episode flows seamlessly from one fight camp and its geographical setting to the opposing ones, following fighters’ paths from their first step inside a fight gym, to the ones they make right before their upcoming walks to the Octagon. You understand what got them started, you catch a glimpse of what keeps them going, and a glimpse at the people who are with them every step of the way.
Then, there are those much shorter promotional videos which could compete with even the best of the best of the best creative ads. They are as punchy and snappy as fighter’s jab – hitting the spot with supreme accuracy and flair. What makes the videos particularly prominent is the way they are always imbued with the spirits of the particular fighters, depicting the devastating moves and power which their mental and physical preparation materialize on fight nights.
Haunting music, a bad-ass narrator voice, beautiful writing and cinematography, perfectly caught looks and moments that tell entire stories on their own, all of which highlighting fighters’ eclectic personalities and characters.
UFC’s promotional videos and series are not only forms of art in every sense of the word, but ones that manage to achieve a very fine balance between artistic expression and documentary – unadulterated realism. The UFC’s creative promotion and branding perfectly captures the beautiful paradox that lies at the very core of the world of MMA – it’s a sport of mixed martial Arts, but it’s also As Real As It Gets, as the UFC’s slogan resoundingly declares.