Dana White had some interesting things to say to ESPN’s Bill Simmons last week regarding the ranking lists on MMA websites – in short, that they’re corrupt because sites take kickbacks from smaller promotions to include their fighters:
“Most of these goofy MMA sites, what you have to understand is, these guys are in it for the money,” said White. “They get paid from all the smaller promotions. They get paid a lot of money from the smaller promotions. So they feel like they have to put some of their guys. That’s the way it works. It’s sick and drives me crazy.”
Now this isn’t the kind of claim you’d be able to make with any educated MMA fan, but fortunately for Dana this is an ESPN product and Bill Simmons doesn’t even know the difference between Lyoto Machida and an exotic cheese. So he got away with it on air. But once Steve Cofield dug the comment up and posted it on Cagewriter, everyone started gangbanging it. Josh Gross and Zach Arnold demanded names. Mr Oldschool Jim Genia reminds everyone that he and others used to be paid by the UFC to cover events. Rob Joyner twists the knife by pointing out if anyone has an improper relationship with the MMA media, it’s the UFC fo’ sure:
-Who’s putting media outlets on their cage signage? The UFC placed ads for USAToday on the Octagon at UFC 100.
-Who’s putting MMA media sites in their video games? Check out MMA Fanhouse as a sponsor available in the new UFC Undisputed 2010 [and Fighters Only, and others]
-Who’s hiring out MMA Fanhouse talent for some of their shows and websites? Oh yeah, the UFC. Mike Chiappetta has hosted the last couple of seasons of the TUF aftershow podcast in addition to writing for UFC Magazine. Ariel Helwani hosted the UFC weigh-in pre-show on UFC.com the other day and blogs for Zuffa television partner Versus. Are those relationships coming to the fore when said writers pen items that are out and out defensive of Zuffa product, like this piece on UFC 108 or the legendary Ariel on CroCop rant after his near exit from the UFC?
-Who’s partnering with Yahoo.com to sell UFC pay-per-views? Yep, that would be the UFC.
-Who uses their credentialing process to shade coverage of their company? One of the few people in the business that will ask Dana White tough questions, Josh Gross, can’t get credentialed. Sherdog fluctuates between the penthouse and the outhouse when it comes to UFC access. Even lapdogs like Steve Cofield get threatened over access if they ask tough questions, like when Cofield questioned Dana about his fighters like Drew Fickett getting DWI’s at the Bud Light press conference. The blunt instrument of access is is used to cow the media coverage, so you end up with journalism from the likes of the Steve Marrocco’s of the world.
The UFC has been very successful at creating a nice cozy bubble for MMA media to live in if they agree to play by the unspoken rules of the organization. Keep them happy and you have access to everything you need. Start causing waves and you’re liable to be called a lying bitch in a video blog and have your website’s credentials cut off. Considering this, it’s pretty ironic that Dana White is making a factually retarded statement regarding the ethics of MMA sites and smaller promotions when they’re clearly the organization throwing it’s weight around to get more positive coverage.