Had Enough Yet? EDIT: Dana White Personally Responds

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Fandom, Journalism, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NOTE: Dana White has personally responded to this post. It appears at the end of this post.

The inspiration I had for starting this blog was a run-in I had with an MMA “Journalist” (MMAJ) that represented the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I posted MMA Journalism is a Joke 8 months ago next Tuesday. I didn’t expect much to change in that 8 months, but I just wanted to check in with you and see if you’re begining to get annoyed.

Jones-Evans Is Not Happening No Matter How Much You Want It

At 11:00am this morning, Dana White held a press conference in which he said, among other things, that Jon Jones and Rashad Evans would not be fighting at UFC 140 in the main event. Nevertheless, the stories continued to come in with claims that the fight was scheduled for UFC 140 in December. In defense to his own screw up of this story, Mike Chiappetta, “a journalist for 10+ years, [having] written for AOL, NBC, ESPN,” relied on the fact that one of Evans’s coaches, Mike van Arsdale, told him the fight was happening.

A real journalist would have been embarrassed by that claim. A journalist gets all the facts before reporting them as such. For the deal to be done, (oversimplifying a bit) Zuffa has to present a contract that’s signed by three parties, Zuffa, fighter #1, and fighter #2. In order to report this as happening, a real reporter (not one just rushing to get the first scoop) gets word from each of those three parties (or their appointed representatives) before making a claim that the fight has been signed. After doing that, if the fight doesn’t happen, it’s not the journalist’s fault. There’s nothing he or she can do if the three parties are all lying to him, or if circumstances change and the fight gets cancelled (e.g., the venue doesn’t come through).

If a reporter goes to only one of those sources, then that’s a failure by the journalist. This case is a great example of why that’s no small point. If Chiappetta and the rest of these hacks had just asked Dana (or listened to reports from the press conference), they would have known the fight wasn’t happening. The story wouldn’t have gone out, and we wouldn’t have to deal with this storm of unfounded rumor. All Chiappetta had was an ignorant statement by Van Arsdale, so that’s what he should have reported! He should not have been telling the Twitterverse that the fight was definitely a go for UFC 140. Why should I have to explain this to him for him to get it?

This is nothing new, by the way. We saw this same crap with false rumors of Lyoto Machida fighting Rashad Evans (one of many examples here). There were no apologies for poor journalism issued after that event, so today’s nonesense isn’t a surprise. However, when are all of you going to say, “Enough is enough”?

This is Going to Get Worse

Now consider the UFC on FOX deal. That’s going to bring in even more fans, and those casual fans are going to have very little tolerance for the reliance MMAJs have on rumor and wishful thinking. Ordinary fans aren’t accustomed to this crap, and the lack of legitimate media covering MMA assures us that the crap will keep piling on us.

What Say You?

I know I’m a nerd. I know you don’t care nearly as much as I do when professional journalists end their sentences with prepositions or misspell, “cat.” Still, if you ever go to MMA news sites, I presume you want to know what’s actually happening; therefore, you should care about this. Whether or not you do, however, I do, so I have no intent of shutting my mouth.

Here are the questions that are still on the table:

  1. Are you annoyed yet?
  2. Do you want your “journalists” basing their stories on unconfirmed rumor and wishful thinking?
  3. Do you want your “journalists” to report unlikely stories because they know that, if it actually does come true, you’ll think they’re geniuses, but they also know that you won’t punish them when they’re wrong?
  4. If rumor doesn’t bother you, why don’t you create your own website and report fake stories just because they’d be cool?
  5. On the other hand, if you visit sites for information, why don’t you speak up when you’re consistently given misinformation instead?

Remember, you can’t go elsewhere because legitimate coverage is rare, so the problem has to be fixed. Notice that ESPN’s Jon Anik, Josh Gross, and Franklin McNeil didn’t report the fight as happening. Watch them on MMA Live.

The Twitter Thread

For reference, here is the complete set of tweets between Mike Chiappetta and me, as well as some relevant tweets. You be the judge, but keep in mind that this guy is paid to keep you informed.

Mike wrote:

Mike: Van Arsdale told me this today on the record, in person, recorder in his face. Just wanted to put that out there.

Matthew Goldstein wrote:

@MikeChiappetta you should add “#notahack” to that tweet

I wrote:

@TheFightingPost @MikeChiappetta A good journalist (#notahack) confirms the story from all parties *or* reports it as “one guy told me …”

Mike wrote:

@MMADork Please unfollow me if you don’t value my work. I don’t need you, and you clearly have no use for a hack like me.

I wrote:

@MikeChiappetta Great response. No logic, just “leave me alone.” How about responding to the concern? #NotHoldingMyBreath

I wrote:

@MikeChiappetta I will continue to hold MMAJs #accountable until they start to exercise professionalism. I won’t just close my eyes on this.

Mike wrote:

@MMADork I’ve been a journalist for 10+ years, written for AOL, NBC, ESPN. I think my record speaks for itself.

I wrote:

@MikeChiappetta So does your reporting today.

Mike wrote:

@MMADork Fine, when Jones and/or Evans eventually confirms they were offered the fight at UFC 140, I will be waiting for your apology.

I wrote:

@MikeChiappetta You won’t get it. That wouldn’t vindicate your tweet from 3 hours ago (http://me.lt/6kV2O ) that was clearly false.

Dana White Responds

Dana White had this to offer:

@MMADork I told mike straight up at the press conf that the fight was NOT happening but I guess van arsdale knows more then me!!

to which I responded:

@danawhite Holy crap! This just went from poor journalism to unethical journalism. Thanks for the response.

Make sure to listen to Fight Fans Radio Monday through Thursday at 3pm for MMA news and analysis. Also listen in on Saturdays at 3pm before fight cards for my live Stupid Predictions™ segment.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Dana White on Twitter @danawhite
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Twitter @ufc
Follow Jon Anik on Twitter @Jon_Anik
Follow Franklin McNeil on Twitter @Franklin_McNeil
Follow Josh Gross on Twitter @JoshGrossESPN
Follow Mike Chiappetta on Twitter @MikeChiappetta

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