Dana White constantly says that some fighters refuse to play “The Game”. When White says this, he is referring to fighters refusing to promote a fight or refusing to promote themselves. Unfortunately, we live in a world where just being a great fighter is no longer enough; just take a look at Renan Barao. He has been unstoppable ever since he stepped foot in the Octagon. He is aggressive, finishes opponents in exciting ways and never turns down a fight. Why is he not popular? Well, there are a couple reasons.
For one, Barao doesn’t speak English. I don’t know if he doesn’t want to learn it or he doesn’t have the time to do so. Whatever it is, someone close to him needs to advise him in that direction. It hurts his appeal to the North American audience and limits his ability to connect with fans. The other reason is that, in no fault of his own, he beat Urijah Faber twice. Faber is such a huge star that when he loses, people hate the person who beat him. It turns out that person is Barao.
Barao also just needs to become more personable. It is obvious that he takes fighting very seriously, but it cannot be business all the time. He needs to let the public in and really show them his personal side. He needs to show the fans that he gets scared, has a sense of humor, likes to go to the beach and other things like that. It might seem a little weird, but once he can show the fans that he is more than just a fighter, the fans will want to see him more. Unfortunately, I just don’t see Barao doing any of this, and that stinks because he will never be a huge star due to that.