This Painfully Fake UFC Beef Is Brought To You By Halo 5: Guardians

This Painfully Fake UFC Beef Is Brought To You By Halo 5: Guardians

I’ve just witnessed perhaps the most market-driven UFC fighter ‘beef’ of all time. Halo 5 was involved. Halo 5 hastags were involved. It wasn’t pretty.

Halo 5 and the UFC: lately they’ve been joined at the hip. Not only was Halo 5 a major sponsor of the UFC’s last major PPV event, but UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is set to feature in the game itself.

Which is all fine and good. It’s all business. You might not like weird cross promotions of this type but Microsoft have a product to sell and the UFC likes money.

But now they’ve crossed a line and I can’t tell if it’s completely gross or hilarious. Probably both.

In the fight business, whether it’s boxing or MMA, there’s a sales component. Fighters are usually expected — on some level — to ‘sell’ the fight. They can sell that fight by playing up a dislike or a genuine grievance — like Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate, who genuinely dislike one another. Or they could also go the Conor McGregor route: create a heel character so powerful that you can’t help but tune in. You either want Conor to win, or you really, really want to see him get knocked out. Sometimes the ‘sell’ feels legit. Sometimes it comes across as fake, a little bit WWE.

In short: there’s an art to it.

The current ‘beef’ between current UFC LHW champion Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson might be the most manufactured of all time. If there’s an art to selling a fight, these guys are scribbling on the living room wall with magic markers. It’s absolutely brutal.

It’s phony, weird and brought to you by Halo 5: Guardians, in stores October 27.

Check out this abomination of a tweet:

This is 2015 so UFC fighters will frequently hype an upcoming fight by tweeting dog’s abuse at one another on Twitter. Sadly, this was just the beginning of the worst UFC twitter beef in history.

Alexander Gustaffson finally responded with this:

I’m speechless. Utterly speechless.

Later, on Fox Sports 1, a TV presenter brought up the tweet with Cormier and he could barely contain his laughter.

I’m torn between hating the sheer audacity of this powerful, powerful shill and being entertained by it. I mean it’s bad. It’s so, so bad.

It’s kind of a shame — because this fight is a big one. Not only is it a fantastic style match-up, but it almost certainly sets up the winner for an incredible rematch against disgraced former champion Jon Jones, who just avoided jail-time for a hit-and-run incident and should be reinstated to the UFC fairly soon. With stakes that high the fight almost sells itself.

Here’s hoping one of them… finishes the fight.



  • Surely the people who design these marketing campaigns have been campaigned to before, like, they’ve seen advertising? Surely they know how transparent this is, how shitty it looks?

      • “Boy, what a shitty marketing campaign.” probably isn’t the buzz they wanted, but you have a point. People who were going to buy it already will, a few more people who weren’t might jump on board. I personally thought Halo 4 was so awful that I can’t foresee a future where I’m playing Halo 5, but stranger things have happened.

        • That is the key to this, although I don’t think it is deliberate. People who are going to buy Halo 5 are not going to be put off by a dodgy UFC campaign and it just keeps popping up with the reminder Halo 5 is out soon.
          On the UFC side it is being reported who is fighting and when, even if it is a bad marketing campaign. That will just be pushed off as *rolls eyes* ‘marketing’ and the dicussion moves to the actual fight.
          It is a terrible campaign and screams fakeness but it screams it so loudly that it will probably be fairly successful.

          • But it makes a joke of both the products. It makes people aware that Halo and the fight are going to happen but it’s hard to take Halo seriously when people have to be paid just to talk about it, and it makes the fighters look like idiots for participating in a fake feud. Advertising isn’t just raising awareness it’s also about image. You can brute force something with a superbowl ad but even then you’re better off doing it well.

        • There’s an episode of Mad Men in the first season, where they are talking about the Volkswagen ad campaign where they were advertising their cars as ‘lemons’. It goes back to the old adage – any publicity is good publicity. People are talking about how awful the campaign is… but they’re talking about Halo 5; it’s in the public sphere much more than it would be with a more subtle ad campaign. Now, whether terrible campaigns can shift more units, that’s another question altogether, but in terms of getting discussion happening, it’s undoubtedly been effective.

          • Just because people are talking about it doesn’t mean that people are going to buy it.

            I wasn’t going to buy it, I’m talking about it…. still not gonna buy it… and now I think their marketing team are morons, what a “win” for them I guess….

          • You would then not be the target audience for this marketing campaign, as you have already decided you are not buying it.

            But people who may not be aware that it is coming out, or anything about the halo series they may check it out, watch a trailer, buy it or tell their mates about it.

            Either way, it is advertising that makes the name halo 5 out in the public. For good or bad.

          • Yeah true, what jerks 🙂

            The numbers must work in their favor for this stuff, screw integrity it’s all about the dollars haha (I kind of respect them if that’s the case…. still a bunch of jerks…. cashed up jerks).

          • True, it isn’t going to convince everyone to buy it… but maybe you mention to a friend how awful the campaign is, and they decide to go look for themselves, and while browsing they see a trailer for Halo 5, think it looks great, and they buy it. Or maybe it isn’t them, but someone they mention it to – but I can guarantee that more people are going to know about Halo 5 after this whole debacle, which is kind of the point.

  • *facepalm* Oh god, the sympathy embarrassment… it hurts. It’s worse than an episode of Seinfeld or Frasier.

    • Urgh.
      What the hell, Microsoft? Those tweets were so painful to read and are obviously insincere. It just cheapens the Halo franchise IMO, that’s not to say UFC is but the cross-industry marketing could have been handled soooo much better.

  • You know that article about Nick Diaz where everyone said ‘it’s his own fault for getting caught smoking weed three times’? This is why it was a much bigger issue than rule violation he got busted for. By playing ball like this and going along with the marketing team these guys could smoke crack mid-fight and still have the full support of the UFC. Someone who doesn’t stick to the script may still get fights because they’re undeniably good but they walk a line where they risk getting bumped out of the spotlight in favour of more ad friendly fighters. That’s not to say these guys are terrible and only getting a major fight because they’re sellouts.
    Selling the event is a big part of any sport and it’s undeniable that WWE style personas are entertaining to watch, but management is always going to want to go too far. You’ve got to call them out on their BS just to keep them in check.

  • Great card. Bad promotion. Those #hashbrowns were terrible.

    I must admit, I’m slightly addicted to a #redbullzero each morning at work.

    Ahh that sweet, smooth taste.



  • The “sell” seems hammy to you? Tell that to the covenant.

    I personally think they shouldn’t be making their crowds promises, if they know they cant keep them.

    Ive heard that for bricks, their punches fly pretty good.

    This kind of advertising isn’t a mistake, nay it was heresy!

    Okay I’m done.

  • I think this is just a really strong reflection of how far Halo has strayed from what made it great. I know that this kind of promotion is 100% Microsoft’s doing, but I can’t ever imagine a time when Halo would have been teamed up with UFC (which, whether or not you consider yourself one or not, is generally a pretty bogan sport) when Bungie was at the reins. It goes to show how much Halo is gunning for that Call Of Duty fanbase (which incidentally seems like a much better fit for this sort of partnership) and how much of a terrible goddamn idea it is.

    343 Industries seem determined to show at every turn that they really don’t understand the series they’ve been trusted with at all.

  • @markserrels
    You obviously missed the really subtle product placement for #Halo5 in the new Mission Impossible movie.

    As @geometrics said, this just seems like an effort to get their claws into the ‘Bro’ crowd… expanding their base beyond the nerds, to the kind of jock who likes to see two greased up, half naked, muscle bound thugs rolling around on the ground with each other.

    #bringbackfightnight #fightnight5 #itsinthegame

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