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Saturday, October 08, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- Before continuing with the normal flow of UFC-related coverage next week, let's take one last look at Zuffa's decision to deny media credentials to every independent MMA publication in the United States, including the top three MMA publications (MMAWeekly, Sherdog, and Full Contact Fighter). First, there's a good article by Mike Sloan over on Sherdog, which talks about how ridiculous this move is from a business standpoint and how much it hurts MMA from a credibility standpoint.
Also, two members of the MMAWeekly staff recently wrote about Zuffa's actions, and the unified MMA media's subsequent decision to have a blackout of UFC coverage for one week in order to show a united front.
MMAWeekly's Ken Pishna wrote:
I haven't said too much publicly on this situation, but I think that I should say something here. As far as us acting like the UFC doesn't exist, this is not a permanent situation. This was a decision made with a united group of MMA media to protest the UFC's decision to not allow us access to provide the type of coverage that fans are used to. Our biggest hope in doing this, is that the UFC will take a look at how much interest/buzz is lost surrounding their event when we are not allowed to provide the type of coverage that fans have come to expect from us, and that fans really deserve for their years of supporting the UFC.
We know that it is harsh and we know that we're upsetting many of you, and I totally respect what you are saying. But without the access that we have customarily had at UFC events, we won't be able to provide the type of information that is expected, and the photos will pretty much disappear if we can't have someone credentialed. There is no way to get into the event with a good enough lense to take any decent shots. No post-fight press conference video and interviews. That is why we decided to protest the situation, along with the fact that no reason has been given for the denials in the first place.
It's not because we're crying about not getting in for free, or because our ringside reporting seats are gone. It just makes it impossible to provide the coverage that you as fans have come to expect.
We will continue to provide as much coverage of the entire sport as we always have, and that will include a return to UFC coverage after this week. We will do the best with the cards that we are dealt, but our actions this week were in hopes that it will help to make things better more quickly in the future.
I'm not going to get into a back and forth argument over the details of the situation one way or the other, but I just wanted you guys to know where we're coming from and why we did what we did. And also, please know that we do respect you guys and I completely understand your disappointment [in the lack of UFC coverage this week]. Believe me, as this day wears on, I'm really understanding the disappointment.
MMAWeekly's Damon Martin wrote:
This is what you call taking a stance. We are not saying that we are totally abandoning UFC coverage... just for a week, because this is the time when the UFC has made it very clear they don't want us there. You guys love the coverage we provide, but if the UFC doesn't provide us access, we can't provide you the coverage. No cage-side photographers means that you won't get the very best pictures from the event. No credentials means we can't have access to the behind the scenes stuff that everyone loves so much. This isn't about ringside seats, and this isn't about us crying and being childish about this.
At UFC 53 when you listened to the [MMAWeekly Radio] weigh-in show and you got to hear Chuck Liddell and Georges St. Pierre... those guys were down in the weigh-in area where fans are not allowed, but because I had a press pass I was able to go past security and ask Liddell and St. Pierre to come on the show.
When you see the post-fight interviews I conducted with Nick Diaz and Karo Parisyan, and Ken Pishna interviewing Rich Franklin and Andrei Arlovski, that's because we were backstage with our media passes.
I don't want to seem combative about this, but you have to understand, not being given media access prohibits us from providing you the very best coverage that we can... You guys are the reason we are able to keep the site going, but the UFC has to play ball as well if you want the coverage, and as of now, Dana White has taken his ball and gone home.
Labels: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), UFC News, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
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