Certain things are like clockwork in the mixed martial arts blogosphere. MMA Junkie will break news and Bloody Elbow will run it through the SEO ringer; positive steroids tests will be met with equal parts outrage and mocking of the outrage; Ryan will promise us all something amazing and fail to deliver (I did get my Team Modafferi and Human Cockfighting t-shirts, though); and Josh Gross will get antsy in the middle of winter and attempt to relive Sherdog’s battle with the UFC while he was at their helm.
Dear readers, you know I am a powerfully lazy writer, frequently led astray by such petty “real life” concerns as supervised probation, college courses and a job. I believe the last time I put my fingers against a keyboard (when not bullshitting on Twitter or documenting why someone is late on their mortgage) was immediately following the UFC’s debut on Fox – an event that was widely clamored for among the MMA media for years before being largely pooh-poohed when it actually happened. I’ve had similar (read: identical) droughts of productivity (or are they spurts of uselessness?) before, but I’m learning that they’re ok during the end of years ending in a 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9.
Immediately following the sparsely-bought UFC 108 PPV headlined by Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva – an utterly cursed card that conjured images of Papa Shango with a UFC-emblazoned skull across the Interwebs – Gross wrote this piece about how this singular event signaled the death knell for Zuffa’s no-co-promotion policy (a.k.a their entire business model). To be fair, at the time, Fedor still loomed as an undefeated* #1 fighter outside of Zuffa’s grasp (not so much anymore) and the waves from his signing with Strikeforce were still being measured. However, the reactionary aspect of the piece – one poorly-bought PPV = co-promotion forever – compelled me to come to this very site and disagree. That propelled me to Watch Kalib Run’s podcast, the front pages of a few SBN sites and a ballot with USA Today. If the trajectory from this piece is similar, I’ll be the Republican nominee in 2012 (I respectfully decline).
Today’s timing is more weird than reactionary for the piece. The actual material, however, is just short of embarrassing. I feel genuinely sorry for Outside the Lines (one of the few quality offerings from ESPN) and John Barr having their names attached to it. Here’s the link. Not only are the actual named sources for disgruntled fighters/managers few and far between, they’re essentially limited to Rob Maysey, who is a completely unimpeachable and objective source of such informatio… oh wait, he runs the “Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association,” a powerfully weird site that’s largely under construction and lists its most recent activity – by Maysey or anyone else – over eleven months ago, despite claiming over 1,800 (largely avatar-less) members. Hmm.
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Allow me to go on (it’s been a while). Gross tosses in the names Randy Couture and Jon Fitch (whom, combined, spent approximately 24 hours of the last 5 years not under Zuffa contract) lists unverifiable expenses and no source of income other than the fight pay. That’s right: we have arbitrary, word-of-mouth numbers on things like camps, coaches and nutrition taken as gospel, and zero mention of sponsorship numbers in a piece that is purported to be about “fighter pay.” For Gross and Barr to include numbers that haven’t been confirmed while pretending that the only pay UFC fighters see is from the UFC is complete and utter bullshit.
The same article also ventures an average of unverifiable opinions from anonymous sources as to the revenue split between Zuffa and the fighters (10%), THEN goes on to explain that Maysey believes that the vast majority of Overeem’s actual income was “off the books” and non-public! How can you, in one breath, guess as to the amount of revenue the UFC pays out, and then admit you have NO FUCKING IDEA in the next?
I suppose that, if every paragraph you write is a sentence, it’s easy.
But who the fuck writes like that?
Josh Gross, that’s who.
And for the finale – the triple axel of this shit show – Gross quotes members of the Culinary Union that’s currently SUING Station Casinos for anti-union practices (a charge the Fertittas categorically deny). All right, another fantastically unbiased source when it comes to the UFC. The article ends with Maysey opining on the slim likelihood of fighters ever unionizing. Well, Rob, you’ve been at it since 2005, and all you have to show for it is a piece of shit website that doesn’t even list your purported membership of “about 50 fighters and trainers”. That’s a number which I am calling bullshit on until I see the list of names, by the way.
You know what? Almost every name under these “members” looks to be randomly generated (I acquired an eye for these when Fightlinker was besieged by spambots). I’m calling bullshit on all of them, too.
Either Josh Gross got completely trolled by Rob Maysey, or he’s allowed his anti-UFC feelings to manifest themselves into another shitty piece of writing, this time on ESPN. I’m leaning both ways.