How our Cage Warriors ‘tribute to Conor McGregor’ video created pre-match buzz before UFC 205

Just before Conor McGregor created history by becoming the first MMA fighter to become a two-weight world champion, Graham Boylan, Owner and President of Cage Warriors paid tribute to the Irish fighter with a video entitled ‘Conor McGregor: Destined for Greatness’, produced and directed by WePlay.    

It’s a lesser-known fact that the UFC’s first two-weight world champion Conor McGregor started his career with the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship, where he perfected his craft and became a two-weight Cage Warriors champion before heading to MMA’s premier organisation, the UFC.

How was the idea for this production conceived?

As digital agency of Cage Warriors, we regularly brainstorm ideas for content to capture the attention and the emotions of the audience.

When New York City and Madison Square Garden was announced as the home for UFC 205, Cage Warriors and BT Sport worked together to create an event for the domestic fans to suck their teeth into, leading up to the main event. This warm-up event would be held inside the BT Sport studios and was labelled as Cage Warriors Unplugged.

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The Cage Warriors Unplugged Octagon

In the build up to a live event, there are a lot of moving objects to align, from broadcast planning to content activations, partnership activations to PR. Our role was to work alongside the organisation and the media partners to produce a piece of content that would capture the attention of not only MMA fans, but sports and lifestyle audiences also.

Working with Cage Warriors, we brainstormed to create a piece of content that would pay tribute to the biggest star in the sport and the most famous of the Cage Warriors alumni – Conor McGregor.

It was extremely important to create an emotive narrative, to set the scene early on and offer an exclusive, never before seen insight into Conor McGregor. To help us deliver this, we engaged with Graham Boylan, a man who knew Conor well.

How we planned and executed the video

Since the time between ideation and delivery was short, a production process was put in place with deadlines that could not be stretched.

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Outcomes of the campaign

The video was released before the Cage Warriors Unplugged event. The video went viral with our distribution partnerships with The Sport Bible and Daily Mail cultivating in over 1m views across channels. 

On the Sport Bible alone, the video produced 843,000 views, 14,000 reactions, 1,169 shares and 476 comments. 

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Watch the Conor McGregor tribute video posted by The Sport Bible 

Summarising a historic week in MMA

As an agency that operates at the intersection of where sport meets digital media, it doesn’t get more exciting than working on high stakes projects like this. With a fantastic backstory to tell, great assets to use, unseen archive footage to tap into, an engaged audience craving the content, a clear route for distribution and a milestone in one night to build up towards, this had all the elements to create a successful campaign.

Conor McGregor did his thing and became the two-weight UFC Champion, an incredible feat. Conor has quite simply transcended the sport from being a niche combat sport, to a global phenomenon captivating not only sports fans but everyone the world over.

For Cage Warriors, all efforts now look towards their next show in London, scheduled for February. For combat sports fans, general sports fans and for those just looking for pure adrenaline-filled entertainment, this will be the next major MMA show in the UK and an evening we’re all looking forward to.

To discuss a project with us, please drop us a line to hello@weplay.co