Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Monday, June 20, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- As you may remember, the Boston Herald recently wrote many negative and untrue things about the sport of mixed martial arts, including attributing deaths to MMA that actually took place on boxing events, Toughman Contests, and even a pro wrestling event in the New England area. The Boston Herald's systematic spreading of misinformation about MMA was chronicled in a previous article on Ivan's Blog.

Now the Boston Herald is continuing to defame MMA with another article that has major factual errors. On page two of that article, it says, "Nationally, laws permitting and regulating the sport exist in 17 states, including Florida, which put in rules after a 33-year-old woman died in an unsanctioned bout."

This is in reference to Stacy Young, who died after a Toughman Contest event in 2003. A couple of problems:

A) The event in question was a Toughman Contest event, not resembling MMA in any way

B) Florida regulated MMA long before 2003, so they can't even try to claim that a Toughman death in 2003 indirectly led to MMA regulation

C) To show how much research they did, they even got the woman's age wrong. She was 30 years old, not 33, which could have been corrected by a 30-second Google search if anyone actually cared about fact-checking at the Boston Herald

At this point, one can only speculate why the Boston Herald has a continuing agenda to defame and slander the sport of MMA as much as possible. We do know that the author of the newspaper's MMA stories, Dave Wedge, was previously found guilty of libel for writing that a Superior Court Judge had said that a rape victim should "get over it," when in fact the judge never said that. The Herald had to pay over $2 million in damages for Wedge's libelous statements.

Even still, the fact that these articles are from an unreliable author doesn't fully explain the sheer level of incompetence. I just don't think you can make that many factual errors without some of it being intentional. Looking at this one specific case, Stacy Young's death in a Toughman Contest event was previously written about in the Boston Herald as an "MMA death," and they received tons of letters from MMA fans alerting them to the fact that it was a Toughman Contest event, and they even published several of those letters on their web site. Despite all of this, the same exact mistake was made again, that doesn't seem like an accident to me.

As for why they would intentionally print lies about MMA, it's just speculation, but here a few possibilities that come to mind:

A) We do know that UFC president Dana White was originally from the Boston area, so perhaps someone at the Boston Herald has a beef with Dana White from years ago and is "getting back at him" by defaming the sport that he now promotes. This is the least likely of these scenarios, but it still has to be considered within the realm of possibility.

B) We know that the big newspaper in Boston, the Boston Globe, has treated MMA with respect in the past, including a lengthy and excellent article about Kenny Florian right before the finale of The Ultimate Fighter, so it could be sour grapes between two competing local newspapers, with the Herald trying to defame something that the Globe has said is a legitimate sport.

C) We do know that the boxing establishment feels very threatened by the emergence of mixed martial arts in the United States, and has gone to great lengths in the past to disrupt the approval of MMA in new areas of the country. If someone at the Boston Herald has business ties to the boxing industry or is simply fond of the boxing industry and doesn't understand what all the fuss is about with MMA, that could serve as motivation to defame MMA.

As I said before, these possibilities are pure speculation on my part, but I just can't believe that a newspaper could make that many factual errors (on the same topic... repeatedly) without it being at least partly intentional.

Mixed martial arts has been getting more and more mainstream acceptance as a legitimate sport in recent months, as the exposure of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV has done much to eradicate a lot of people's lack of any basic knowledge about the sport. Garbage like this from the Boston Herald is now the exception, rather than the norm, in MMA coverage. As Dave Meltzer recently wrote, what the Boston Herald has done "is like doing an article on the dangers of football and mentioning that an auto racer died in a race last weekend."

Fans of MMA should show that we are not going to tolerate newspapers printing lies about the sport of MMA, so feel free to make your voice heard on this subject by sending an e-mail to letterstotheeditor@bostonherald.com

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