MMA is growing exponentially, expanding in five years from a struggling niche sport to a product spreading slowly across the globe. Each UFC pay per view grosses tens of millions and millions of fans watch the UFC and Strikeforce on live television. MMA is growing at a dizzying pace but the media covering it has failed to keep up the pace. The result is a media class mostly made up of amateur reporters and fans. You can count the number of full-time professionals on the MMA beat on a single hand. The result is often uneven or clearly biased coverage.
We do a lot of navel gazing here at Bloody Elbow, keeping a close eye on the MMA media. We highlight some of the great articles we see and also make a point to try to keep our colleagues honest by pointing out issues when we see them. In this new ongoing feature, I'll make note of the good, the bad, and the bizarre. We'll award an article of the week, an interview of the week, a hidden gem, and a takedown of the week.
The inaugural cheers and jeers after the jump.
Middle Easy author Zeus shines the bright light of truth on the Fedor interview you didn't hear during the Strikeforce conference call.
This was perhaps the most candid we've ever seen Fedor. Aside from blatantly stating that he wasn't a fan of the UFC, when asked if he was planning on retiring, Fedor admitted that recently, he has seriously been considering retirement. At least that's what Fedor said, if you were on the call (or have a copy of it) then you may have heard something drastically different. Steven Bash, M-1 Global's attorney and Fedor's translator, left out an entire sentence in Fedor's response that, if translated, would have completely altered Fedor's answer.
Sports Illustrated's Josh Gross takes a look at MMA's hottest rivalry-the one taking place on console systems nation wide.
His decision to return to the MMA space minus the benefits of the powerful UFC brand, which now belong to video game producer THQ, has not gone unnoticed, most notably by UFC president Dana White, who believes EA is jumping in late because it thinks it can make a buck.
"I don't look back," Moore said. "I'm very committed to growing this sport through interactive entertainment. That's what we're doing. THQ, who are good friends of mine, have that license."
Prior to last summer's mega UFC 100 event, White laid down a now-meaningless decree that fighters who appeared in the EA title would be barred from competing in the UFC. The competing video games essentially represented a proxy war between Zuffa, MMA's most successful promoter, and Strikeforce, which is labeled as the "premier" fighting circuit in EA MMA and has established itself as No. 2 in North America.
"If you're sensing a rivalry it's more at the UFC level than THQ level," Moore said. "If what the UFC is saying is fueling passionate rivalry and competition and grows the sport, grows interest in the sport, and grows interest in buying video games in the sport, then I'm all for it."
It certainly didn't feel like a coincidence that the EA and THQ booths were within 30 feet of each other during this year's E3, especially because in 2009 they weren't.
"I told him what I was going to do. Everybody knows what I was going to do. If you watched the Countdown show, it showed what I was going to do. The Primetime show showed what I was going to do, you know. I’m going to wrestle, I’m a wrestler, I said what I’m going to do. I’m going to wrestle. I said I’m not really going to have a game plan, I just know what I’m good at and I know what he’s not good at and I’m going to try to maximize what I’m good at while minimizing what he’s good at, that’s just what it comes down to, it’s not rocket science here, you know. He knows I was going to wrestle and he know I want to wrestle you know I’m going to try to take him down but the problem with him is that he underestimated. I knew at the press conference when he said Michael Bisping said that I was weak, I knew he was in trouble because the moment he’s locked up against the cage and he tried to get me off the cage and tried to put me to the cage, I brought him back to the cage and made him stay there until Herb Dean broke it up. The look in his face was priceless because he knew at that moment Michael Bisping LIED TO HIM." Transcribed by Fight Opinion
Ben Fowlkes talks with Jamie Yager in what may end up being the definitive interview of a short UFC career.
"I called him up and I said, 'You want to sit down with this p---y? You want to sit down and sign autographs with this p---y? Is that what you want to do?' He was kind of like, 'I just want to see you believe in yourself and do the best that you can do.' So he kind of squashed it, and after we sat down at the booth I gave him a little more s--t about it, and we kind of hashed it out."
Attack of the Clones:
Did you know Court McGee is a triumphant survivor of drug addiction? If you read one of a dozen cookie cutter articles about the TUF 11 Finalist you did. A sampling:
"From where I was four years ago to where I’m at today, there’s no words to describe the feeling and the gratitude. I worked very hard to get here. Not that everyone else didn’t, but I was given an opportunity, and I took full advantage of it. I lost everything. I had no friends. I had no family, and my life was meaningless. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know where I was going. ... I was just done mentally and physically. Spiritually, too. April 16, everything turned around. I never give up, man. If I’d have given up, I would be dead today. I’m not. I’m here and getting ready to fight. Regardless of the outcome, I feel as if I’m winning anyway because I could go right back out there and be (messed) up again using drugs. As far as I’m concerned, I’m winning the battle."
"It’s such a gratifying feeling being here, knowing that I’ve worked for it," McGee said. "I feel I earned my spot. The difference between winning and losing is so small, 1 percent, maybe. I was frustrated with the loss to Nick Ring. I thought it should have gone to a third round, but the attitude I took after that loss was that I was going to keep focusing and keep working hard. We knew there was a wild card, and we knew there could always be injuries. You just didn’t know what was going to happen."
Tapology's Steven Kelliher gets an insider's view on how GSP manager Shari Spencer has taken the UFC welterweight star mainstream.
Tapology: What is in the way of widespread mainstream sponsorships of fighters right now and what might help to make the transition easier in the future?
Spencer: There are many facets to that answer. I think part of it is the fighters themselves and how they conduct themselves. Rampage, for example, is a colorful character, but that particular character is not going to fit in with every brand. Brock Lesnar and Chuck Liddell are probably the most recognized faces in the sport, but the Mohawk and tattoos aren’t going to resonate with every brand out there.
Most of the sponsors in the sport right now are relying on brand placement during the fights, so they’re effectively buying an event sponsorship via the fighter.
Miguel Torres tries hard to entertain the masses on Twitter. This week he may have taken it a step too far, taking on MMA's first couple, Mr. and Mrs. Cyborg.
Tweet 1: Cyborgs girlfriend, Evangilista is up next. Looks super tough, a little ruff around the edges though.
Tweet 2: Cyborgs girlfriend wins. I wonder who will be the pitcher and who will catch tonight? Should be on national geographic.
Want to recommend an article (or send one to the woodpile?) Send me an email at mmaencyclopedia at gmail dot com.