What Small Businesses Can Learn From the Mayweather-McGregor Fight

Since I work for a company that sells jiu jitsu mats and various other MMA products, I have recently had many conversations with friends, family and colleagues that cover the Mayweather-McGregor fight. Anyone remotely tied to the MMA or martial arts business have probably had the same experience. As I drove into work this morning, contemplating the fight, I began to pick out a few items that I felt are very valuable lessons to be learned, especially by small and mid-sized MMA and martial arts businesses.

Failure is a Terrible Motivator

If Conor McGregor has shown us one thing in his career it’s that failure is not a motivator.  McGregor motivated himself with success. He would claim to be the best fighter in the world, that he would hold two division titles at the same time and that he would fight arguably the best boxer of all time.

Even after he was defeated by Nate Diaz, he didn’t get discouraged or fall in line with other fighters. He overcame his stumbling with humility and hard work, and was eventually victorious in their rematch. He made himself accountable by putting his goals and dreams in the public eye. Your business should do the same by motivating your staff and customers with ideas of success, then letting them hold you accountable. If you fail in one area, handle it with humility and confirm your dedication to success, then try again. Don’t be afraid to let your market hold you accountable because it shows that they care.

Give Employees Room to Succeed

Businesses should always give high performers the flexibility and resources they need to deliver the best results. I have seen many high performers move on from their jobs because management was too rigid.

The UFC could very easily and understandably have put their foot down and prevented the McGregor-Mayweather fight from happening. Instead they understood the value that McGregor brought and allowed him the latitude to work in a different way. The result will be a massive windfall of profit for them. The next time your star manager or sales professional brings up an idea that is not the norm, explore it, evaluate its merits and allow them the freedom to pursue it.

Don’t Let Ego Get in the Way of Good Business

The UFC, Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather, Showtime and the Nevada State Athletic Commission all had a large say in booking this mega fight, and all of them could have said NO. Each of them had very good reasons to protect their own brands from scrutiny and embarrassment, but they chose to set aside their egos in order to make a deal happen.

Business is no different. We sometimes let our egos get in the way of common sense.  Partnering with other brands and companies is often viewed as a negative, something that should be considered carefully. Don’t be afraid to pursue partnerships when they makes sense.  The UFC won’t be on the marquee for this fight, but they will certainly gain some exposure and new viewers. Taking a back seat on a deal isn’t sexy, but business rarely is. Be an owner or manager who is not afraid to make the right deal for your company.

A Side or B Side

In a boxing match, the “A Side” is considered to be the more important person in the fight, the guy who is bringing in the lion’s share of the profits, while the “B Side” is the underdog. A lot of the talk prior to the Mcgregor-Mayweather contracts being signed involved who was the leading “A Side” man.

When it comes to your business, whether you are selling MMA lessons or dance lessons, the customers should always be the “A side.” This doesn’t mean your product should be the cheapest, but it should always take into consideration the needs of consumers. Does it provide them a solution? Is it something they value? Is it something they will pay for? It is likely the Mayweather-McGregor fight in August will break every record in the business. The fighters will make more money than they ever have, the businesses involved will profit and the fans will have something to talk about over the summer. This is a great example of how we as owners and managers in smaller businesses need to work.  

Take these lessons to heart and I assure you that your business will be better. Just remember that running a business is always a fight in and of itself.