There is no getting around the obvious fact that ProElite has no one to blame but themselves for their collapse. If the market cannot or does not want to support an inept and potentially surreptitious organization despite some of the good it performs, then while I have sympathy for unemployed fighters my sympathy stops there. Irrespective of the fallout yesterday, ProElite had put themselves in a precarious position in hopes of tossing one last Hail Mary.
But the truth of the matter is the online media - first MMA blogs then larger news sites - drove the story up the media continuum. In fact, it was blogs who were attacked for inciting hysteria or much ado about nothing (still think it's hysteria? anyone?). While larger media outlet's like ESPN's Pardon the Interruption traded in their credibility for grotesque generalizations, it is very arguable those entities would never have even covered the issue were it not for the initial online push. And to think that one of the largest stories in the history of the sport is still not being covered on SportsCenter tells you all you need to know about ESPN's alleged "priorities".
The mp3 of Petruzelli's interviews at the Orlando radio station were mailed to this website and others. Were it not for the grassroots mobilization of hardcore MMA fans seeking news and coverage (thus giving support to sites like this and others), this story may never have existed. Petruzelli's comments would've faded away into the archives of a radio station never to be heard again.
So while no one should take pride in having a hand in the dissolution of ProElite, it is worth observing what the power of online media is capable of doing. I'm sure critics will use this opportunity as a pivot point to redouble their criticisms of blogs and group-think melodrama, but I view this more as affirmation of the legitimacy of the online MMA media. The knowledgeable fans recognized something was amiss and used their self-publishing powers to cover and promote the continuously developing story. That helped usher in larger coverage and new revelations from bigger media entities. The subsequent ugly coverage helped launch an investigation and further tarnish an organization's already dubious reputation.
That is unbelievable.
Criticize this post for what I'm sure will be described as self-importance and pomposity, but be aware I am describing the power of the entire online MMA media. It took a village, for a lack of a better description, to raise a story to fruition. But raise it it did. If nothing else, that is remarkable. CBS wanted the deal and the push from hardcore fans killed the whole affair. Who saw that coming?