Well, here we go again . . . or should I say here I go again?


What the hell, people? Do you like being lied to?

Early this morning (i.e., while most of you were asleep), the news broke that Phil Davis was out of his main event match at UFC 133 against Rashad Evans. Within 8 hours, MMA “Journalists” (MMAJ) were reporting that Lyoto Machida had been signed as Davis’s replacement. That turned out to be wrong, as evidenced by the announcement of Lyoto’s wife and manager, Fabyola, that Machida had expressly turned down the fight.

This is what MMA Journalism is all about. A few people sit down and come up with a dream scenario. The only difference between MMAJ and ethical people is that MMAJ then publish that dream scenario as if it’s true. As the follow-up stories show, the lies are often based in fact, but it’s clearly wishful thinking on the part of these sites. They want so desperately for it to be true so they can say they reported it first, and as a result they do so and cross their fingers that the deal goes through. Why they can’t just report that the offer has been made (but not yet accepted)? That would be truthful and just as much a scoop (if reported first). Instead, they report that the fight was signed so that they have a timestamp showing they reported it first (sometimes before it even happened).

On the other hand, Dana White has proven that he remains part of the problem as well. Dana apparently fed misinformation to Yahoo! Sports saying the deal was done. This doesn’t get MMAJ off the hook, though. A good reporter verifies his stories. A good reporter would receive verification from all three relevant parties (Rashad, Lyoto, and Dana) before publishing it as a done deal.

If you think this false story, unlike all those before it, somehow miraculously taught these people a lesson, think again. One of our well-known “hot girl” gimmicks announced that Tito Ortiz indeed signed to face Rashad. I asked if this had been confirmed by all three parties, to which she responded “I’d suggest you go here: @DanaWhite,” clearly missing the point. When I pointed out that Dana’s text to Yahoo showed that he’s not a reliable source (on this very issue, no less), she responded with a link to a story that cites both Dana White and Tito as confirming the fight. Clearly, that’s better, and I sincerely thanked her for it, but I’m guessing she didn’t see my point.

ESPN wouldn’t have done this. Why? Because ESPN isn’t a gimmick or a fake news outlet; it’s a collection of real journalists that check their facts before spewing off their wishful thinking. If they didn’t, they’d pay for it.

There are other important details coming out, such as Dana White’s (mischaracterizing) accusation that Lyoto reneged, but none of this changes the fact that the deal wasn’t signed, so it shouldn’t have been reported as signed. If the deal was offered, report that. If the deal was agreed to in principle, report that. If the deal was signed, report that. If the deal was not yet signed, do not frakking report that it was! Is this really so hard to understand?

If one party lies to you, that’s as much on you as it is on him because you didn’t get verification from multiple, relevant, reliable sources. If Dana, Lyoto, Tito, and Rashad all lie to you, then your conscience is clear. There’s nothing more you can do then ask the people that are in the know, and if they lie, that’s on them. MMAJ always seem to fall into the former category. Real journalists fall into the latter. Until you make MMAJs pay for it, expect to be misinformed.

You know, I could have gone the easy route and peppered you with images of politicians, but I hate mixing politics and sports.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Phil Davis on Twitter @PhilMrWonderful
Follow Rashad Evans on Twitter @SugaRashadEvans
Follow Lyoto Machida on Twitter @lyotomachidafw
Follow Dana White on Twitter @danawhite
Follow Tito Ortiz on Twitter @titoortiz

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