MMA Journalism Is a Joke

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Journalism, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lois Lane

I’ve been watching UFC PPVs since UFC 2. The earliest UFC I attended was UFC 7 when Marco Ruas made his United States debut, knocking down an overwhelmed Paul Varleans with nasty leg-kicks and punching him to TKO with his left hand because Ruas had broken his right hand earlier.  I worked for the now-defunct Extreme Fighting Championship as their website developer during the first couple years of attending law school. All of this, apparently, qualifies me to be an MMA “journalist,” despite absolutely no experience or training in the field.

I’ve had recent run-ins with a few MMA “journalists” (henceforth, MMAJ) lately (none of whom I’ll identify), and I’m absolutely sick of it. They’re uninformed (because they don’t know how to research), unprofessional (because they don’t know how to act like civilized adults), and their opinions carry no more expertise than the average fan (because that’s all they are, an average fan).

ESPN and other major media outlets post links to MMAJ commentary videos taken in their parents’ basements and permit them to have their uninformed voices in major media. Why? Because ESPN, et al. completely dropped the ball on MMA. There was absolutely no coverage, and when the UFC exploded overnight (relatively speaking), bringing the rest of the MMA industry with them, the major media was ill-prepared for the result. While they’ve now brought in legitimate journalists to cover MMA, the MMAJ are firmly entrenched, and the traffic to their websites makes it difficult to eliminate those hack sites from the radar scope of the sports world.

Journalist

While some of you might find this refreshing — and it is — it’s gotten out of hand.  My latest run-in was with what I call a “novelty act” MMAJ, which is someone who’s been given the job not because she’s been watching MMA since its inception (which may or may not be true in her case), but rather because she’s a female. That’s it. Guys want to look at her, and women want to know that they have a place in MMA. The solution is to give the job to an untalented hack simply because she’s female. How’s that for removing stereotypes?

This MMAJ, along with so many other people in the Twitterverse — both MMAJ and ordinary folk — immediately raised the specter of steroids when Antonio Silva beat Fedor. Basically, there was no way he could have beaten an aging Fedor unless he was juiced. I expect this baseless accusation from typical MMA fans, especially those that worship Fedor as a god, but not from a professional journalist. She has an obligation to the truth, and until we have a test result or a history of continuously failing tests, there’s no reason to raise suspicion.

Of course, in defense of herself she referenced Silva’s one prior “failure.” Assuming for a moment that any past test is relevant to whether he’s juicing now (it isn’t), I have yet to hear or read personally a single person who isn’t critical of the CSAC for their handling of Silva. At the very least, any talk of his past failure should have an asterisk attached to it.

Update: I took a look at her tweet stream after I had unfollowed her. She was complaining to another MMA writer about how the Internet was so “abusive.” Apparently she missed the point that what we (or maybe just I) were criticizing was her abusive language towards Antonio Silva. Even if I were abusive, I have an excuse: I’m just some anonymous coward on the internet. Is that all she is? Apparently so, and her complaint makes her a hypocrite as well.

Regardless of how you feel about Fedor, Silva’s prior test, or Chael Sonnen (the source of my other two run-ins), it is unprofessional for you to make baseless accusations and tarnish a fighter’s name because of your assumptions. For most of you, that isn’t a problem. You’re not professional journalists. For MMAJ, it is a problem. A big problem.

Every single article by a long-time MMA fan, never-a-journalist has ridiculous errors in it, easily solved by research and proofreading. In fact, after posting a few rants, the very next online article I read on the subject of Fedor’s loss to Silva contained an example of such easily avoidable errors. We should all demand professionalism, and the professionals should wean themselves from the need to use hacks as soon as possible. If ESPN disagrees, I’ll send them my resume.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC

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Comments
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