Normally I couldn’t give less of a shit about the acquisitions, splits and mergers of big media companies, but this is a story that could affect us MMA fans negatively. MMAFighting.com – hands down the best site for original MMA reporting – is a part of AOL Fanhouse. And now Fanhouse will be replaced by The Sporting News. Basically, instead of AOL footing the bill to create all the content on Fanhouse, they’ll just ‘partner’ with Sporting News and let them do the heavy lifting.
So you can see the obvious concern: Sporting News doesn’t even touch combat sports and MMA Fighting has quietly picked up all the best journos in the field. When Mike Chiappetta is the low man on the totem pole, it says a lot for the quality of your staff. They have Midsy (Michael David Smith), Ariel Helwani, Ben Fowlkes, and the All Elbows team of Esther Lin and E Casey Leydon. Oh, and I can’t forget Daniel Herbertson, our man in Japan.
Here’s what’s being said about people keeping their jobs:
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said today of the status of AOL Fanhouse writers: “We are going to be working with AOL employees on Fanhouse, you have my personal word on that. The focus on Fanhouse … Fanhouse is not going away. Brand and bunch of staffing will be staying around.”
Armstrong did not say whether that “bunch of staffing” will include prominent, full-time AOL Fanhouse contributors.
A current Fanhouse writer told me today that March was the target date for staffing changes to take effect. From same source: “Nobody’s been officially fired, but it appears Sporting News doesn’t plan on hiring many Fanhouse folks.”
While that doesn’t sound good, Bloody Elbow has this reassuring note:
While staff members were unable to provide an official response Graham James of AOL confirmed to SB Nation that MMA Fighting (http://www.mmafighting.com/) will, “remain a dedicated source of MMA news.”
It fucking better. I need high quality content to steal!