Steve Cofield with the excellent post:
We've covered the politics of media credentialing pretty heavily over on Cagewriter, the Yahoo! MMA blog. Dana White and the UFC have banned certain folks from attending its events. Some may think this is unique but the same thing is happening with boxing promotions according to Mike Marley of the Boxing Examiner. Marley has worked in and around the game for years. The former N.Y. Post columnist is an excellent writer but he's been hammering Ricky Hatton in the lead-up to the fight saying the Brit has no shot against Manny Pacquiao.
Now Marley has been denied a fight night credential from MagnaMedia, the company in charge of managing the hoard of "media" asking for access. Marley thinks it's simply because "Hatton's hillbillies" as he's calling them, and Golden Boy Promotions are angry with what he's written:
A fight publicist said, "I don’t know who in the Hatton camp you pissed off but they won’t even hear of you getting a press credential! The mention of Michael Marley had them breathing fire!"
If I have to suck up to Hatton and his acolytes to get a free pass to the fight, with my record as a journalist at The Las Vegas Sun, The New York Post, ABC Sports and numerous boxing magazines including Boxing Scene and The Ring, then I’ll accept the refusal every time.
The repercussions of this selective credentialing does not kill boxing, but it seems awfully curious in the age when newspapers (locally the Washington Post cut their boxing coverage) are culling their staff by giving boxing writers the boot to say nothing of the popularity of boxing having declined in the last five years (although with a bit of an uptick more recently) that professional fighters, their camps and the PR agencies in charge of credentialing would think they can be the most egregious and ugly form of "selective". Worse, Cofield identifies another problem with shunning media members who are too critical for select members of the boxing community tastes:
This is a dangerous game to play with these big fights. Boxing can pick and choose who it wants to cover the high-profile fights but then wonders why no one shows for a second-tier fight like Paul Williams versus Winky Wright. There was little media coverage of that fight and consequently a pathetic crowd of 5,400 filled the 11,000-plus seat Mandalay Bay Events Center a few weeks ago.
This is not the position the UFC finds itself in where the MMA media will to varying degrees continue to follow all of their shows. However, the minds at the UFC understand traditional media and new media are bleeding into one another in the direction of new media and that stiff arming them is not a long term sustainable strategy. That's particularly true if they at all care about fostering a healthy relationship with the media. Then again, if you're not afraid of scorched earth policies, maybe the stiff arming is more of a fixture than I give it credit.