“Every time I watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, I invariably see the same UFC Fight Pass commercial; and every time I see it, I’m struck by its stupidity.
You’ve probably seen it, too, but in case you can’t view the link, it’s the one that starts by asking “What’s your problem? Bored?” before imploring you to “Stop whining and watch a fight.” The sound and image of a crying baby briefly pops up, because nothing sells a product better than “You’re not a baby, are you?” The slogan of this ad is “Fighting solves everything.” Car broke down? Fired from your job? The remorse you’re feeling from pounding that Taco Bell Party Pack in a single sitting? Don’t worry about any of that. Just watch some fights and all will be well.
Aside from the cringe-worthy tropes of being a dude/man and the laziness of its angle, there’s something ingenious about the ad, a common motif immediately recognizable to all fight fans that the advertisers likely didn’t realize at the time but is nonetheless present. The hook of the commercial is that people have problems, which is as sure an investment as you can make. As long as humans are involved, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Anything can happen.
“Anything can happen” is a familiar concept to fight fans. Not only is it the reason why Fight Pass is proposed as a solution to existential boredom, but it’s the dynamic of the sport that makes it surprising and exciting; it was a promotional angle in the early stages of MMA’s growth. A fight can end at any moment for any number of reasons. The nature of fighting is like imagining Hail Marys were worth three touchdowns in football or if there was a full-court shot worth 25 points in basketball. Fights can change instantaneously. Fighters can lose four and a half rounds and find a submission in the waning minutes of the fight; they can jump off the cage and kick people in the face.
They can also miss weight the day before they fight or spend long stretches locked in a staring match in the cage…”