The UFC has announced – via Twitter - the winners of its first-ever quarterly Twitter incentive program.
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The UFC Twitter incentive campaign, launched in May at the UFC Fighter Summit, awards 12 bonuses per quarter rewarding creative and successful uses of Twitter. Fighters are placed into one of four categories based on number of followers as of June 1, the beginning of the quarter. Three prizes are given out within each: most total followers at the end of the quarter, biggest percent increase in followers over the quarter, and most creative use of Twitter.
Twelve bonuses of $5,000 each will go to the following nine fighters:
Anderson Silva, UFC middleweight champion - 604,511
Minotauro Nogueira - 176,852
Demian Maia - 69,792
Cris Cyborg, Strikeforce women's featherweight champion - 12,252
From the dawn of TUF through his best-selling books, Griffin has been revered for his unique and comic voice. On Twitter, his messages are sporadic but unmistakeably Forrest. Notified of his win, he wrote: "Irony: found put on twitter I won a prize for tweeting" and "When the @ufc says most creative what they obviously mean is incoherent ramblings."
Lauzon used a multi-platform approach to scoop the MMA media and break the news of his UFC 136 fight against Melvin Guillard... with the blessing of the UFC, of course (no leaks!). He wrote a post on his own site with his reasons for taking the fight and his (ultimately correct) prediction for how it would play out, then tweeted a link.
Henderson live-tweeted during the UFC 133 pre-fight conference call, giving fans access to what is usually a media-only affair. He also took questions from fans during the call, fully incorporating them into the event.
Benavidez held a Twitter contest asking fans to suggest and then vote on a new nickname, which was to be announced by Bruce Buffer inside the Octagon at Benavidez' August fight. The contest received over 1,000 mentions and 250 nominations.
Brazilian fighters in particular benefited from a surge in popularity due to August's UFC Rio event. All of the fighters who nabbed "Most followers" and "Largest percentage growth" are Brazilian.
UFC President Dana White and the UFC have long been proponents of fighters taking advantage of the social media platform. White famously instructed his athletes to "Tweet your asses off," believing the platform is ideal for engaging fans and building fighters' presences.
Statistics on number of followers are tracked by Digital Royalty, a social media brand management company. Nominees in the "most creative" category were submitted by fighters, fans, UFC staff and Digital Royalty; winners were selected by White.