Ivan's Blog

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Mixed Martial Arts--- Controlling the Flow of Information
It's a very proud day (or not) in free speech. Independent MMA web site Sherdog.com was prevented yesterday from covering a UFC weigh-in that was supposedly "open to the public."

Excerpt from an article on Sherdog: "UFC president Dana White, who said he ordered Wenk to remove Sherdog.com, has repeatedly suggested his company has not placed a 'ban' on mixed martial arts media. He has also insinuated that sites like Sherdog.com are free to cover the UFC, but without the benefit of media credentials. This is the first time the UFC has prevented Sherdog.com from covering an open-to-the public event."

I have made numerous posts about this on the following forum thread on the MMAWeekly Forum: http://forums.mmaweekly.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=4991.

Among the posts I've made:

In response to someone implying that the reason for this action is because of negative articles on Sherdog about the UFC: "Right, because a publication writing something negative about a company that they cover is surely reasonable grounds for that publication to no longer be able to cover the company that they wrote something negative about. Just as long as you don't write anything negative about a company, you can continue to cover that company all you want. I think I remember being taught that in journalism class. (sarcasm intended)"

In response to people basically saying that they don't like Sherdog.com, so they don't really care that this happened: "This is not about the merits of Sherdog.com versus the merits of MMAWeekly, or any other web site. This is about independent MMA journalism. The fact is, MMAWeekly and Full Contact Fighter got their media credentials pulled the exact same way that Sherdog.com did. What's different now is that while Zuffa has always had the plausible deniability in the past that the independent MMA media could still cover UFC events just the same, they have now prevented members of the independent MMA media from doing thier job at an event that was supposedly 'open to the public.' ... I hope that you can look at the bigger picture beyond just saying basically, 'I don't like Sherdog.com, so I'm glad this happened.' Again, it was not just Sherdog.com who were denied media credentials, it was MMAWeekly, Sherdog.com, and Full Contact Fighter, the top three independent MMA news outlets in North America."

In response to someone saying that "this whole mess wouldn't have started" if the UFC had posted a notice about any filming restrictions: "This is not a 'mess that started' on June 27th. It started last September when Zuffa pulled the media credentials of the top three most-read independent MMA publications in North America. All that happened on June 27th is that Zuffa lost its plausible deniability that the independent MMA media could still cover UFC events just the same as they always did."

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