Big walkouts are Bellator’s thing. And for fighters like Roy Nelson, that translates to big sponsorship opportunities.
“They’re trying to bring the PRIDE show back, where we’re in the entertainment business,” Nelson (23-14 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) told MMAjunkie in advance of his Paramount-televised headliner against Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) at Bellator 194. “That allows me to showcase different sponsors.”
After almost three years of fighting under the UFC’s uniform policy, which prohibits outside sponsors during fight week, Nelson notices the difference since his defection to Bellator nine months ago. There are more opportunities to make money outside the cage.
He rattled off a litany of companies he could promote as he made his walk to the cage, some more practical than others.
“If I want to walk out with a honky-tonk band, I can come out with a honky-tonk band,” he said after a training session to prepare for Friday’s event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “If I can come out with a Monster energy drink, I can come out with a Monster energy drink. I guess I can’t come out with heroin and do rehab, because that would get me in trouble.”
Even without the extra logos, though, Nelson works hard to develop his personal brand. His rotund frame, walkout song “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovic, and post-fight belly-rubs are nothing short of trademarks. Without restrictions on his walkout routine, he aims to drill that persona into the public consciousness.
“My thing is I try to grow my demographic and my fan base to get bigger and bigger,” Nelson said. “So when I do get to the championship, I’ve got more fans to cheer for me.”
Nelson needs to win two fights to get to that point, and it all starts with his rematch against Mitrione. The first time they met, in 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, he took home a first-round knockout. Both fighters anticipate a completely different challenge the second time around. Above all else, Nelson is focused on getting to the next round.
After all, if he doesn’t win, he isn’t getting much camera time.
Watch the above video to hear Nelson on sponsors, his outside-the-cage business ventures, and his thoughts on fighting in Bellator.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Walkouts and logos: Roy Nelson's philosophy on self-marketing in MMA