EDIT: So it turns out that Liveblogs do have a feature that updates time-stamps and essentially results in the Liveblogs being near-stickied to the top of the front page. I am an enormous goober and missed this feature entirely. So... there is no purposeful or inadvertant policy of Bloody Elbow at work here and much of this piece's criticisms are now fading into Bolivian as they should.
(The following is from the non-expert words of someone who has a vested interest in this coverage, so keep a grain of salt handy.)
This structure of MMA seems to be cohering into a handful of superstars driving the biggest demand for fights and coverage, while a larger number of prominent fighters ascend or descend the pinnacle of the sport and a small army of lesser known fighters look on with envy at the coverage and money the better known fighters receive. The fighters on the fringes are probably hopping and hollering for people to pay attention to their performances and thus ease their transition into the limelight more fully. In today's MMA landscape, the UFC has almost all the superstars within its organization and many of the prominent fighters as well. In the competitive landscape, there are a few other promotions that have significant and highly skilled fighters who put on great performances and feel that they are unappreciated and under-valued.
Some of those non-UFC fighters have recently stated that they believe Bloody Elbow, and by extension, the mixed martial arts media does not cover non-UFC events well, if at all.
I posit that Bloody Elbow does both a great job and a terrible job of covering non-UFC events.
The Good Stuff:
Every week, there is all kinds of interesting posts and articles about non-UFC fight cards, fighters and general happenings. We get unique and original photos, analysis and observations coming from Anton about the Asian events. There are many Judo Chops that feature non-UFC awesomeness broken down in great detail and with superb expertise. Live-blogs of almost all major non-UFC events are done with a crew of dedicated, knowledgeable commentators blowing up the comment threads.
The Bad Stuff:
There is occasionally a flood of UFC-related content that nearly drowns the other items out. The liveblog of the Bellator 53 main card went up five hours as a placeholder to remind people of the timing before the card went live on TV. By the time Bellator started, the post for the liveblog was already on the second page due to the multitude of recaps of UFC fights going on that night. A grand total of three people commented on the Bellator 53 liveblog while the card was live. I would bet you that dozens of Bloody Elbow members were watching both cards through tecmological trickery, but since the liveblog was out of sight (not on the first page), Bellator became out of mind in a way. The UFC-related posts got the overwhelming share of attention and comments that night.
Furthermore, the occasional mix-up of commentators in conflating the health and viability of MMA as a whole with the health and viability of the UFC still happens today. This is perhaps what galls most non-UFC fighters who lash out at MMA media. The UFC is not (yet) a monolith that decides everything that happens in the sport. It is perhaps the amateur and low-level promotional events that show the vigorous demand for and participation in MMA of people worldwide. The lion's share of the coverage rightly goes to the UFC, but Zuffa is not the be all, end all of MMA.
However, to forestall any critics, Bloody Elbow did a great job of presenting the highlights of what turned out to be a surprisingly strong event two days later (Nason's post just after lunchtime on October 10th). Roling then did a great piece showing that the timing of the Bellator events has not helped the visibility of the fights and fighters much, if at all. Anton also did a couple quick rundowns of the OneFC happenings and whatnot. We even have the short looks at Fedor/M-1 and the Badr Hari moves.
Right now there is more non-UFC coverage than UFC-related coverage on the front page of Bloody Elbow. That's great stuff.
In short, there is extensive coverage of non-UFC events on this site and even some truly good journalism at work in that coverage. However, it sometimes becomes tough to find the relevant posts and articles when an actual UFC event is nigh, because the UFC-related posts flood out and swarm the front page - thus winning the battle for eyeballs at a critical juncture.
Since Bloody Elbow is somewhat dependent upon giving the people what they want, that flood may be necessary. Search traffic and ratings may bear these tactics out. But what's the correct balance between giving the people what they want and serving the present and future of MMA worldwide? Does the MMA media as a whole need to raise their coverage of non-UFC events or are we already at the sweet spot between coverage and profitability?
Thoughts, questions and possible ideas for the future:
Sticky a post or two at the very top, like liveblogs that are occurring at the same time, while letting the others scroll downwards. Would that make the design of Bloody Elbow look more like MMA Nation? Is that a bad thing? Is changing that going to help anything?
What about moving the "Featured Stories" box on the right up above FanPosts? Would that give a noticeable boost to the coverage?
Are the non-UFC fighters that criticize media coverage genuinely missing all the work that sites like Bloody Elbow and other prominent MMA-focused collectives are doing on non-UFC events? Is this a perception problem or is this a real coverage problem? For those who have access to search traffic data, can a possible answer for the question of skewed perception versus uneven coverage be constructed?
What about just letting Mark Pavelich run half of the site?