Don Frye in AT&T Commercial

January 14, 2010

Don Frye announced a few weeks ago that he intended to quit MMA in favor of pursuing a career in acting, and now we’re seeing the fruits of the UFC and Pride veteran’s labor with AT&T’s “One Step Ahead” movie/commercial.

Frye also recently made an appearance in the Johnny Depp headlined “Public Enemies,” and has two movies in post-production per IMDB.com.

Payout Perspective:

It’s great to see that Frye has transitioned from MMA into his second career of sorts. He’ll probably never win an Oscar, but he plays the tough guy and silent CIA agent role pretty well.

A career and livelihood beyond the cage is increasingly becoming a more important focus for fighters in today’s era of the sport. The money is now there that many of them do not have to work second jobs to pay the rent, but what happens when the fight checks stop coming in the mail? Will these fighters have the skills to pick-up and continue living the same lifestyle, or must they make other preparations?

It’s an interesting question that shouldn’t just be dropped on the lap of the promotions. Many will argue – and perhaps rightfully so – that the UFC or Strikeforce need to provide pensions and other forms of benefits, but the fighters, too, have a responsibility to look out for themselves. That first means seeking help and asking for advice, and then having the discipline and foresight to follow through on that advice.

The MMA money train doesn’t run forever, and fighters need to be prepared.

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The commercial is interesting not only because of Frye’s involvement – in which he plays a CIA type agent running around looking for this AT&T user with GPS – but also the way AT&T uses of Facebook to customize the web movie to each individual user.

It’s clever, but also a little invasive – the web movie requires that you log into your Facebook account through the website and share your information, pictures, and contacts with its database. Some will call it brilliant marketing and customer data mining…others will be concerned about the privacy issues.

In any case, this is one of the ways in which companies are trying to use social networking to find better information on their consumer. The MMA community as a whole might want to take notice; with a traditionally younger, more tech-savvy consumer, it could apply some of these techniques in its own marketing strategies.

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