This is a guest feature by Zak Woods, formerly of WatchKalibRun.
A major upheaval in digital sports media occurred this past Thursday. AOL Fanhouse, home of MMAFighting.com, is set to partner with the Sporting News.
According to Terry Lefton, of the Sports Business Daily, the Fanhouse brand will disappear over the coming weeks leaving the "Sporting News on AOL" which will " give the venerable sports brand instant digital relevance."
The shocking news of a partnership left many long-term Fanhouse contributors wondering about their future employment status. Rumors immediately began to surface that a significant change in staffing, which was soon followed by a report from Sports by Brooks confirming an upcoming change in staff.
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."
Brooks later followed that report with a tweet stating that only 5-6 of the 26 full time writers would be retained by the Sporting News.
MMA fans on social media sites, such as Twitter, asked the staff of MMA Fighting how this partnership would affect the future of the site.
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."
The Sporting News does not have consistent nor dedicated MMA coverage one could speculate that few changes will occur at MMA Fighting. However AOL, MMA Fighting and Sporting News officials were unable to comment at this time on the future status of staff members during this period of transition.
The Fanhouse was internally developed at AOL by Jamie Mottram who would go on to found the Yahoo! Sports blog network. Since Mottram's departure Fanhouse has departed from it's web-roots to a more traditional newspaper theme, even hiring many old guard sports writers such a Jay Marrioti.
For readers unaware of The Sporting News, the bi-weekly magazine is a prime example of old guard media. Established in 1886 The Sporting News was once the only source for national sports media coverage prior to the rise of ESPN and other national publications, such as USA Today. In recent years TSN has been expanding it's online brand with the decline in publishing.
Full Disclosure: SB Nation bought The Sporting News web-centric entity The Sporting Blog in July of 2010 and the site was discontinued. Several writers were brought on to SB Nation while others were let go.