One of the things that stopped being business as usual with the Strikeforce / UFC sale was something most fans don’t give a shit about but many bloggers and MMA websites do: press credentials. Up until the sale, Strikeforce had a rather porous system where even people who regularly called Scott Coker a dickless tard could get ringside seats. AKA even Fightlinker could get creds. Now that the UFC has taken over though, that’s no longer the case.
For those of you who didn’t know, the UFC runs an amazingly anal credential system. 99% of the websites out there covering MMA can’t even get a reply to a request, and that includes big players like Bloody Elbow. I’m not 100% sure about MMA Junkie any more, but there were times in the past where their people had to literally HIDE from UFC staff to keep from being tossed out of arenas. And they’re the biggest, tamest MMA site out there!
It’s not just a hate-on for the MMA blogosphere though. The UFC has cut off press credentials to lots of people due to slights real and imagined. Sherdog tops the Dana White shitlist and through them writers like Josh Gross and Loretta Hunt, who got a ‘fuck you bitch’ shoutout from Dana during a vlog a while back. Unfortunately for them, the amnesty offered by Dana to people like Paul Daley and Josh Barnett has not been extended to the press. Here’s Loretta talking about how she’s barred from getting creds at Strikeforce events now:
“Did it hurt me? Yeah, sure. That was my first assignment for CBS Sports. I worked with one of the editors, producers over there who does the NFL and also had done MMA in the past. His name is Denny Burkholder, he’s a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts and CBS Sports, I’m told, hasn’t really covered MMA for the last year or so for various reasons I’m told because they’ve had some difficulty with getting interviews and things like that in the past, so they kind of cooled off from it and then they were coming back in, this was the first show that they were going to do in quite some time. They brought me in, assigned me, and then we were turned down. So, CBS Sports decided that they just weren’t going to do any coverage at all of the UFC. They don’t want to be told who they can send to their events and who they shouldn’t send to their events representing them.”
“Yeah, I mean that I’m sad this door closed. I mean, a door really did close. CBS Sports is not going to look at MMA for at least a little while.”
Jeez, if CBS were smart they would have just NOT hired Loretta Hunt. That’s kinda the whole goal behind Dana banning people he doesn’t like in the first place. As for losing CBS Sports, I don’t think Dana will cry much. The UFC is used to all sorts of news outlets ignoring them because the old fogeys in charge are out of touch morons. One more won’t make or break anything.
I’m not saying I support this kinda thing. I’m right there with the League of Excommunicated Media in wishing for a less Darth Vader approach to MMA credentialization. But unless Dana White strokes out, the UFC will continue to play hardball with anyone he feels is an enemy of the sport. Especially his Axis of Evil that consists of Loretta Hunt, Josh Gross, Sherdog, and CagePotato.