How Conor McGregor turned smack talk into a $150,000,000+ empire
The list of things I wouldn’t do to make one hundred million dollars is pretty short.
There are about three things on it:
- I wouldn’t strap seal steaks on my legs and try to outswim a great white shark.
- I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my kids.
- And I would not climb in a boxing ring with undefeated boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
If sports aren’t your thing, I’ll quickly catch you up: Mayweather is the greatest boxer of his generation. His professional career spans more than 20 years, and he’s never lost a pro-fight.
You couldn’t pay me enough to stand there and let him beat the tar out of me for 30 minutes.
Which is one of the many things that prove I am not Conor McGregor.
McGregor is the reigning champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is Mixed Martial Arts’ biggest star. And McGregor spent a year chasing down a fight with Mayweather that he knew he could never win.
You see, a UFC fighter needs to practice five or six different styles to be competitive. Boxers just worry about boxing. There’s no way an amateur boxer like McGregor could climb into the ring with Floyd Mayweather and come out on top.
Demanding that fight sounds insane. Until you realize that winning the match was never the point. All he wanted to do was step into the ring because that fight was part of a brilliant marketing ploy that more than doubled his net worth.
It made him $100,000,000 in one night — which isn’t bad for a guy who was fixing toilets and living off food stamps in 2013.
You may think boxing has nothing to do with online business. But you can use the same strategies that landed McGregor a nine-figure payday to massively grow your business. Though before we do that, we need to forget about Conor McGregor the athlete and take a look at Conor McGregor the business.
Why sign on for a fight you can’t win?
So why would McGregor want to climb into a boxing ring with someone like Mayweather? To understand, let’s look at where his business was at the end of 2016.
He’s profitable. He’s got a loyal fan base. And he is easily recognizable, but only in a small niche market. So what’s the next step? How does he keep his business growing?
Imagine you’re a successful author in a tiny niche. You write sci-fi mystery novels, and you want to make more money. What can you do?
You have two choices.
- You can work yourself to death trying to find the handful of people who read those kinds of books who don’t already know who you are.
- You can co-write a book with Stephen King and get instant access to his endless army of fans.
Which do you choose?
Or say you’re a fitness company with a new kind of diet. It works, but it’s weird. People eat nothing but raw spaghetti and cabbage.
You could spend years trying to promote it on your own with no success.
But what if Oprah, or Dr. Oz, got behind your diet and pushed it to their tens of millions of fans? Stores wouldn’t be able to keep cabbage on the shelves. There’s no faster way out of a niche than by tying your business to the right influencer.
That’s exactly what McGregor did.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is growing fast, but it’s still a niche sport. The audience for boxing is 5X the audience for most MMA fights. There’s no way McGregor could have convinced that audience to watch one of his fights without help.
But he didn’t have to convince boxing fans of anything. All he had to do was get Floyd Mayweather to step in the ring with him. Suddenly, every boxing fan on the planet was scrambling to find out everything there was to know about him.
By agreeing to step into the ring, Mayweather told his fans, the promoters, and the media that McGregor was someone worth watching.
Forget about the $100,000,000 payday McGregor scored from the fight. The exposure it gave him skyrocketed his brand and his credibility. Now, the entire sports world knows his name.
McGregor didn’t just raise the ceiling for his success, he raised the floor.
Even if he goes years without another payday this big, that exposure has doubled, maybe even tripled what he can expect to bring in each time he promotes a fight.
In fact, there’s talk of the UFC — Mixed Martial Arts’ biggest business — giving McGregor an ownership stake in the league just to keep him fighting. That’s something no other MMA fighter or promoter has ever even dreamed of.
And if you want to get the same kind of results for your business there’s only one question left to answer.
What does it take to convince the right influencer to get behind your business?
Over the past five years I’ve worked with New York Times best-selling authors, former hedge fund managers, Merrill Lynch VPs, and two different entrepreneurs who’ve made over a billion dollars in their career.
Here’s what it takes to get someone like that to work with you…
The 3 keys to getting ANYONE to promote your business
Mayweather didn’t care that he was helping McGregor, any more than influencers in your market care about helping you. So why did he agree to the fight?
Well, to start with, he got paid something between $400,000,000 – $500,000,000.
For context, the hit movie The Matrix grossed about $460,000,000 in theaters. In other words, Mayweather pocketed more money in one night than the total worldwide box office revenue of most major motion pictures.
Now none of us can offer an influencer anything like that kind of money. But that doesn’t mean you don’t bring anything to the table.
Here are three things anyone can do to convince an influencer to work with them.
1. Don’t be vanilla
Say what you will about Conor McGregor, he’s a hell of a showman.
Just check out this smack talk compilation someone put on YouTube leading up to the fight. (Unless cussing offends you. Then just take my word for it and skip the video.)
- He drives expensive cars.
- He wears outfits that would make Lady Gaga blush (including one suit with pinstripes that read “F*** You” on closer inspection).
- He flashes jewelry and bricks of money that could probably pay off my mortgage. *Checks mail* Yep, he definitely could pay off my mortgage.
- He’ll publicly start a beef with pretty much anyone.
And it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.
Like my boss Ramit Sethi said, when you turn vanilla, the world abandons you. People want to be entertained.
If you want a major influencer to work with you, then you need to bring energy that will get their fans excited and the media talking.
You need to be different. You need to have a unique voice.
You need to not be vanilla.
2. Work 20X harder than everybody else
MMA is a niche sport. But that doesn’t mean that taking it over was easy.
There are literally thousands of pro-fighters around the world who barely scrape by. Yet McGregor came from nothing and within three years he was being paid $1,000,000-plus per fight.
How? McGregor flew to conferences, booked himself on radio stations, and took every opportunity available to promote himself to the public. (Even spending his own money to book himself on events the UFC didn’t feel were necessary.)
And that’s on top of the brutal training regiment he kept up so he could actually win his fights.
If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to outwork everybody else.
You need to do what it takes to dominate your niche. Because if you don’t own your market, it’s not time to expand.
3. Put your ego aside
You need influencers more than they need you.
- Why do you think Mayweather got paid four times more than McGregor?
- Why do you think they fought in a boxing ring, rather than an MMA-style cage fight where McGregor would win?
Because McGregor needed the fight. Mayweather didn’t.
Every step of the way, McGregor had to make sure that Mayweather looked better, got more exposure, and made more money. And if you watched that video above and you’re thinking “Wait a minute, McGregor did nothing but trash talk Mayweather for a year.” You’re right.
McGregor spent months talking about how completely he was going to pummel Mayweather.
Then they stepped into the ring. There wasn’t a second of that fight where anyone doubted Mayweather’s control. He dominated that fight from the opening bell until he decided to knock McGregor out in the 10th round. Take extra note of the word “decided.”
The only thing those months of trash talk did was make Mayweather look like a boss.
If you want to get a major influencer promoting you, then you’ve got to be willing to do the same.
- Don’t offer them 40% affiliate commissions. Offer them 90%.
- Promote them to your audience, without any strings.
- Talk them up every chance you get. If you land a media appearance be sure to mention what an inspiration they were, and how much they influenced your success.
- And do everything in your power to make them look good.
If you can do that, you’ll have influencers lining up to help grow your business. I know because I’ve worked with them. They’re waiting for people just like you.