Wolf Tickets: The MMA industry, fake Twitter followers and you!

Luke Barnatt really opened a can of worms with his accusation of Conor McGregor buying fake Twitter followers. Now I have to sit here and task Ted Malakhov (did you know his name is actually Fedor? It’s true) with comparing all of the high profile MMA Twitter accounts we know and love, because people love seeing Twitter follower results it seems.

If you didn’t see Barnatt’s rant from The MMA Hour, it’s pretty good even if it’s totally inaccurate. I enjoy myself a good rant. Who doesn’t? Bleacher Report transcribed said rant:

“Paradigm is the management company that I believe that Conor McGregor is under, they have this interesting concept that they believe that your following is depicted by how many people you have on Twitter, so your whole MMA following, if you’ve got followers on Twitter, then obviously you’re a big deal, and they find that easier to go out and get sponsorships and make you look important.

So they employ this thing called Tweetbot. You pay a certain amount of money, and you get these fake followers. So they’re built and they’re made by a computer, and they follow certain people. If you go through the followers, the Paradigm guys, not all of them but some of them, you’ll find these rival accounts that make up a lot of the percentage for people who is following. Yeah it makes them look like they’re a big deal, it makes them look like they’ve got lots of fans, and it makes them look important.

I’m not jealous of Conor, he’s a cool guy. I’ve met him a few times. But I just think if you want to be fake and you pretend like you’re a big deal by getting all of these followers then calling out people like Diego Sanchez is weak, and things like that start to irritate me. If you’re going to call somebody out, for one you call somebody out in your own weight division, and number two, you call somebody out who is coming off of a win. You don’t call somebody out who’s a loser. What’s the point in that? It don’t make much sense in my eyes.

Well, we crunched the numbers and bypassed the mainframe, then placed a bunch of MMA related Twitter accounts into TwitterAudit.com to yield these results, with Barnatt vs. McGregor going first:

@LukeBarnatt 80% 13,014

@TheNotoriousMMA 78% 78,706

Now, you’ll see both average about 20% or so fake followers. Guess what? About 20-25% fake followers is normal. It’s normal, as Anderson Silva would say. I’m going to hand over the reins of this article to our resident social media expert, Nick Robertson. Nick, take them away, please.

Jason’s correct. Basically anybody with a sizable following on Twitter is going to have a relatively large number of fake followers, but it’s not their fault. There are people out there that have bots programmed to follow people talking about certain subjects or that are being followed/mentioned by other users. So the more your account is followed/mentioned the more fake followers you are likely to have. What’s interesting, is that with only 13K followers, 20% of Luke Barnatt’s followers are fake, while Conor McGregor has almost 7 times as many followers and only 2% more fake followers than Barnatt. What this says to me, is that while McGregor does have slightly more fake followers than Barnatt, he has gained real followers at a much better rate than one would expect from someone with 78K followers. Look at the other popular MMA figures we’ve audited here and you can see that most of them have much much more than 20% fake followers. Nick Robertson

See? Normal. It’s normal.

Let’s look at a few more accounts? Yeah? How about the MMA organizations themselves.

@Handle | %real | #Total followers

@UFC 66% 1,565,736

@BellatorMMA 72% 97,242

@MMAWorldSeries 70% 106,516

Now once again, the more an account is mentioned, the more bots will be attracted to it. Also, we don’t know if fans may purchase Twitter followers for their favorite fighters. For example, say I love KCBandit MMA (which I do) but it’s a few years ago and I’m bummed that he’s so entertaining and he has a relatively small amount of followers. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for a fan to drop twenty bucks in order to make his favorite fighter feel good. These things aren’t always nefarious. But let’s keep looking anyways for the fun of it.

Here are a few more fighters:

@sonnench 60% 386,100

@roynelsonmma 58% 439,930

@nickdiaz209 59% 154,616

@dc_mma 63% 72,784

@TimKennedyMMA 74% 38,709

@NateDiaz209 70% 209,388

@KingMoFH 40% 52,251

@KCBanditMMA 71% 11,275

How about a few of the UFC champs?

@GeorgesStPierre 59% 868,815

@JonnyBones 69% 761,831

@cainmma 61% 338,408

@ChrisWeidmanUFC 68% 153,163

@RondaRousey 73% 382,493

How about UFC media?

@joerogan 70% 1,195,171

@MFG16 60% 86,260


Here are some of those damn MMA media members:

@MiddleEasy 82% 15,427

@JasonNawara 87% 1,234 (1234, cool!)

@KarynBryant 68% 25,992

@arielhelwani 64% 196,558

@MikeChiappetta 71% 26,127

@lorenzofertitta 64% 141,814

@FrontRowBrian 79% 9,671

@superCalo 85% 871 (No surprise he’s one of the most pure souls here)

@BloodstainLane 46% 11,092

@TommyToeHold 77% 19,096

Managers to the stars:

@malkikawa 66% 39,506

@MikeKogan 80% 3,954

And the least we could do is look at a few sites (all of which we love):

@MMAFighting 59,671

@theUG 75% 20,885

@cagepotato 69% 17,924

@BleacherReport 68% 464,928

Anderson? It’s normal?

@SpiderAnderson 56% 4,127,187

But now we must stop, because the app freaked out on us since we used it so much.
Huge thanks to Ted Malakhov (he of 93% real followers), we hope this has been educational for everyone.

Published on December 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm
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