Israel has made a significant name for himself with 21 fights in his MMA career. Even though he suffered his first loss at UFC259 against light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz, Adesanya has gained much respect for his courage to step out of his traditional weight class. He’s proven to be a decorated striker, a cultural phenomenon and an influential figure for the UFC. So, let’s explore the impact these assets have on his marketability.
The story of Adesanya
Izzy was born in Nigeria but raised in New Zealand. As a youngster, he pursued kickboxing, where he fought multiple times in China. Now, he’s an established global MMA star.
Adesanya brands himself as ‘The Last Stylebender’. The Nickelodeon show, Avatar, influences this. He’s also openly expressed his passion for anime and how it energises him when stepping into the Octagon. Israel’s mentioned he’d drawn strength from the Japanese manga series Naruto. He was encouraged by the characters upbringing, will power and morals. Izzy’s anime passion could stretch to his post-MMA dream to own a production company.
Anime and UFC content acquire over 100 million viewers worldwide. Adesanya’s uniquely drawn two diverse audiences together through his personal interests, which could lead towards monetisation opportunities.
The Pay-Per-View keeps rising
UFC259 featuring Adesanya vs Blachowicz accumulated 800,000 international Pay-Per-View (PPV) buys, which held two other title fights. Before UFC259, he beat Brazilian MMA fighter Paulo Costa, which gained 700,000 PPV sales. The rise in sales demonstrates the last stylebender is becoming a pivotal figure for MMA’s leading competition.
The Nigerian born had become the first MMA fighter to pick up a deal with Puma last year. Izzy now joins a high-profile roster of athletes sponsored by Puma, including Manchester City footballer Sergio Aguero, US golfer Lexi Thompson and NBA star Kyle Kuzma. Previously, it was seen as unattractive to support a UFC star.
The sportswear brand intends to utilise Israel in its global marketing activities by promoting their and Izzy’s shared-values of pushing boundaries, remaining innovative and staying authentic.
This deal sees the 20-1 fighter’s net worth sitting in the $2 million region. This collaboration opens doors for other upcoming UFC fighters to secure contracts with significant sports properties, which has previously been a challenge.
UFC sponsor, Monster Energy, has received much critique from some fighters, particularly Israel Adesanya. A clip emerged from the Adesanya vs Whittaker card, which presented Izzy whack a monster energy drink on his table out of sight. Allegedly, Monster Energy associate, Hans Molenkamp, has tried persuading Adesanya and some other fighters to promote the brand in counterfeit ways.
Adesanya has unassociated himself with Monster to honour his integrity. This doesn’t only set a positive example for his audience to value personal honesty. It can attract significant brands like Puma to correlate themselves with the 20-1 fighter due to his truthfulness.
Izzy’s recently signed up for a sexual content subscription service, OnlyFans. This platform’s creators can share exclusive videos, photos, and direct messages with their users for a fixed price. It’s arguably not the most authentic move. However, it’s a compelling incentive to gain monetisation.
Nigerian and New Zealand heritage
Israel’s roots stem from two countries that are over 16,000 km from each other, New Zealand and Nigeria. Both cultures are substantially diverse. However, Adesanya once again combining two audiences to embrace his representation in combat sport.
Izzy often embraces his Nigerian roots in the Octagon through his breakdancing entrances, speaking the native language and walking out to Nigerian music. He pays much homage to his homeland as he visits local communities across the country.
Cultural sensitivity has become a significant driver for commercial brand awareness. Izzy brings two completely different regions together, contributing to his growing media image.
Global brand ambassador for Stake.com
The Nigerian and New Zealand native has recently become the global brand ambassador for crypto sports betting site, Stake.com. He’ll support the betting operative by promoting multiple sponsorship activations, including betting offers, VIP experiences and exclusive appearances.
The come up of both Adesanya and Stake.com has been meteoric. Stake.com are one of the leading operators in the newly emerged sports crypto space, similarly with Adesanya being the UFC’s cash cow. This keeps Izzy as a pivotal figure for the UFC to capitalise on the emerging sports trading era, further amplifying his global brand power.
So, how has Israel Adesanya become a marketing powerhouse? He remains true to himself; he embraces his diverse nationality through his sporting story and champions his passion for anime, opening doors for upcoming fighters to follow in his footsteps.