A comment in the post about the Business Insider story on the evils of the UFC got me thinking about what is my most successful recruitment effort where I turned someone into an MMA fan. I have a few recruits of whom I am particularly proud and I was wondering if any other BE folks had success stories they'd like to share. I know that not everyone is out to win people over as fans, and I really don't feel like I am on a mission to do that, either, but when I see an opportunity to introduce an open-minded friend to MMA, I usually take it. My target demographic is generally women who are friends of mine (for obvious reasons) but I certainly won't discriminate.
I went to UFC 145 last weekend with two friends who I recently recruited (one male, one female). Both were known to be fans of other sports and had previously watched televised UFC events with me (he had watched UFC 139 with me and she had watched UFC 143). The event on Saturday only strengthened their fandom, especially for her (she was already talking about how we should go to Vegas for another event soon).
Despite how well things went with those two, I'm especially proud of my efforts with a different friend this past weekend at UFC 145. I have a very good friend who is always open to new and different things, but had never even watched MMA. She hates sports, in general, so I figured she would be a hard sell. But, I also knew that she was available during the day on Friday and that she likes to take pictures, so I invited her to go to the weigh-ins with me. She was game for it even though I couldn't really tell her what to expect since I had never been to weigh-ins before, either.
I warned her about Chael Sonnen before we got there. I basically told her she'd probably hate him but that she could leave if it was too terrible. And, amazingly, she didn't hate Chael at all. She actually said she could tell that he was just talking trash and didn't really mean it all because he kept smiling and laughing after he said anything (and then he was super nice with fans after the Q&A so that sealed the deal - she wanted a pic with him but we missed out on that). When the weigh-ins finally started, she was totally into it. I love weigh-ins and I was glad she got why I liked it, too. She was very fired up after Jon Jones and Rashad Evans had their staredown, and then she wanted to go and see the fighters outside when they were leaving (which we did - that's her photo of GSP above). After everything was done, we went for tacos and tequila drinks and she told me that she had to see the fights on Saturday because she had to see who won. She ordered the pay-per-view at her house and was tweeting about the fights while she was watching! I was so proud! I can't wait to make her watch more fights with me.
So, that's one of my favorite conversion stories. I'd love to hear if y'all have some, too!