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Saturday, July 01, 2006
Mixed Martial Arts--- Follow-Up on Controlling the Flow of Information
As a follow-up to my previous post about the UFC's attempts to control the flow of information in the independent MMA media, someone mentioned on the MMAWeekly Forum that it's no big deal and that it also wouldn't be a big deal if Major League Baseball decided to pull Sports Illustrated's media credentials.
If Major League Baseball pulled Sports Illustrated's credentials, to use that specific example, they would be ripped for it in every newspaper and sports media outlet in the country.
The UFC is fortunate that it doesn't have the attention of the mainstream media on it in the way that MLB does, for example, because there is not a legitimate sports organization in the United States that could get away with pulling the press credentials of the top three independent publications that cover the sport (or even one of the top three, for that matter) without being ripped to shreds for doing so.
Even on a much smaller-scale basis, when the Kansas City Royals, one of the smallest teams in Major League Baseball, pulled the credentials of just two radio reporters (again, not the top three publications, but two individual radio reporters), they were ripped for it both locally and nationally and were called things like "gutless" and "cowardly" on national radio and television shows that had no affiliation with those two radio reporters.
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star, who has been a guest host on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption many times, also wrote an excellent column about the Royals scandal at this URL: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/baseball/mlb/kansas_city_royals/14839591.htm.
Also, in response to people saying that the independent MMA media will (or should) be more negative towards Zuffa in general as a result of this situation, we're not going to be any more positive or negative in the general tone of our UFC coverage at MMAWeekly than we otherwise would be if Zuffa wasn't trying to control the flow of information in the way that it is. Will there be commentary in some articles about the situation when appropriate? Sure. But will it change the way we cover the day-to-day UFC-related news? No, it won't, and it hasn't since last September.
Also, the media credentials issue is not 100% about web site traffic from Zuffa's perspective, although that is certainly a big part of it. It's also about stamping out anything that they perceive to not be positive towards the UFC, and wanting to have everything viewed through rose-colored glasses. An independent media is inconvenient, and it also doesn't mesh with a company writing its own history. The proverbial carrot and stick routine is also in full effect in this situation.