Paige VanZant explains why branding has become essential for modern-day athletes

She was speaking to Eoin Sheahan at the Web Summit

BY Cian Roche 15:19 Wednesday 7 November 2018, 15:19 7 Nov 2018

UFC fighter Paige VanZant says that branding and self-promotion are increasingly important attributes that a modern-day athlete must possess. 

Speaking on Wednesday morning's OTB AM live from the Web Summit, VanZant discussed her many ventures outside of the Octagon and how marketing herself to a wider audience came easy to her.

"I didn't think about [promoting myself] necessarily when I first started in the UFC," she told Eoin Sheahan.

"After I started getting a name for myself, the media kind of brands you, for you. Then you have to decide whether you like that stigma or who you want to be - and put yourself forward.

"That's the one thing I've done. I've always stayed true to myself. That sells so much easier than trying to put on a facade or a character.

"It works for some athletes but in others it can feel disingenuous. It's about putting your best self forward and what you want to world to see."

UFC fighter, Paige VanZant. Image:  Manny Crisostomo/Zuma Press/PA Images

Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are all ways modern-day athletes can interact with their fans and VanZant says that connection feels natural. 

"I feel like I am so active on social media and I have a lot of fun showing off the other things I do outside of fighting - being on Dancing with the Stars and writing a book. 

"I have so many passions outside of fighting, it was easy for me to do the cross-promotion.

"I know that it can be more difficult for different athletes. It's something where you're finding something about you that makes you special and that is going to sell to fans.

"At the end of the day we are professional fighters, but it is an entertainment industry."

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