This is a weird article to write, mostly because I feel somewhat odd writing it. Yesterday I ran an article with quotes from Shane Carwin's manager Jason Genet, explaining why they didn't trust VADA and why they were turning down the increased testing for Shane's bout with rival Ultimate Fighter coach Roy Nelson.
Genet took to Twitter last night to attack me for the piece. While his initial points were mostly fair (expanding on the reasons they turned down the testing), he also devolved into attacking the site and myself as "hacks" and lying about prior interactions. That's the real reason I'm writing this article. It's not about hits, it's about defending my own credibility and the credibility of the site in the face of a prominent fighter manager's libelous statements.
I also think it's important for media to stand up to fighters and management when they attempt to take part in these ridiculous bully tactics.
The following recap of the situation is not EVERY tweet sent in the exchange by either side. Those can be read at our respective twitter accounts. I sent far too many tweets in the exchange to reprint them all. I kept this to a readable timeline of the interactions for the sake of this post.
Genet repeatedly claimed initially that my article was "wrong," but I asked several times for him to explain how I was wrong for having an opinion about quotes that came directly from him:
.@ingrainedmedia I'll continue sitting here waiting for you to point out what I said that was wrong. What facts did I state that were wrong?— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse 1) I never contacted media, I corrected stories written & responded to media that asked for comments. Roy issued a false PR— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse 2) I questioned the independence and have since been educated by, wait for it, VADA. You could have learned that if you— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse 2) continued were not busy cutting and pasting your blog together. 3) VADA agreed with my reasoning and does not condone— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
This is actually where things got out of hand. The first point - "I never contacted media" is a flat out lie, but we'll come back to that in a moment.
Mainly, the issue here is that nothing he said is why the article on his statements was "wrong." It's just a lot of talk about why he turned down VADA. I also take issue with the idea of not having the cleanest fight possible because you're mad that Roy pulled a shady move. But this isn't really the place for a discussion on the hows and whys of the testing.
So, back to the idea that he didn't contact the media. This dates back to last Friday, when Tim Burke ran this story based on The Score reporting that Nelson confirmed that Carwin would take part in the VADA testing. Here's how that aspect played out during our Twitter conversation:
The best part about @ingrainedmedia responding is flat out lying about "not contacting media" when he contacted us unsolicited last Friday— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
At this point, Genet explained that he didn't "reach out" to us, he "responded" to our article with an e-mail. I'm not sure how contacting and responding are different. We hadn't e-mailed him, he made the first contact between the two parties.
Regardless, Genet followed up with trying to focus in on the fact that the report from the Score was wrong and that we should have "fact checked" their report. As I explained, we did try to follow up with him when he sent us the e-mail after Tim's article went up, and he blew it off:
Yes, the article said that multiple sources were reporting Shane and Roy agreed, then Genet (@ingrainedmedia) sent us an e-mail (cont)— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
At this point, I was trying to refrain from making the e-mails public. But then he stepped things up, both giving me his "permission" to make them public, as well as repeatedly calling me a liar and a hack:
@brentbrookhouse I fixed your guys opinion and you have my permission to post my email.It proves what hacks you guys are.— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia A) you can't "Fix" opinion. B) you didn't correct anything in the e-mail.— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia C) we asked you for direct clarification which you didn't give. Meaning we TRIED to work with YOU and you didn't want to— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse make sure you post the replies that I did not give.you lying hack.— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia You got it, dude! Hang on one sec and I'll go ahead and post them— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
At this point I posted a long tweet using TwitLonger (follow the link, I'm not reposting all 10,000 words here). This contained the entire contact that he and Tim had following the initial story. As is very clear in the e-mails, Genet sends a lengthy, rambling e-mail that is somewhat hard to follow and doesn't do a particularly good job of getting anything across other than making it sound like they had issues with VADA.
Tim replied asking if this can be "on the record" confirming that Carwin won't be taking part in the VADA testing. Given that it was an unsolicited e-mail, we rightfully could have posted anything we wanted from it. But we went the more "professional" route, asking his direct permission to be on the record. Genet sent back a snarky reply, not confirming at all that he was on the record, and not saying anything at all really. Tim asked again, saying he would like Genet's permission to use this as confirmation of Carwin's declining VADA testing. At that point, Genet never replied. Again, this is all documented in the above twitlonger post for clarity.
Genet refused to stop at that point. Instead acting as though his pointless response was an actual "reply" and that I was somehow lying.
The conversation continues:
@brentbrookhouse I tjought there were no repLIES?Can get the story straight?My cell was in that email. No one used it.— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia actually claiming that a reply where you didn't give any information but a smart ass comment is valid? Come on, man— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia if YOU want to get something out there, it's not on US to chase YOU down in a method other than how you contacted us— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@ingrainedmedia The INITIAL STORY was from The Score, we (like every other site) reported on their story— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@ingrainedmedia Then YOU contacted US. and we tried to get you to clarify if what you were getting at was that VADA was out— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse your hack TIMMY responds with three sentences to my "12 paragraphs" of saying why I said no. Thanks for proving your hack.— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
.@ingrainedmedia Tim responded asking if you were on the record. Your failure to clarify that meant we didn't run a single part of it— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@ingrainedmedia the article says "The Score reports that Nelson confirmed Carwin's participation" THE SCORE REPORTS— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) October 19, 2012
@brentbrookhouse yes and your site cuts and paste without fact checking.As you jsut said.I am done with you.— Ingrained Media (@IngrainedMedia) October 19, 2012
After that tweet, Genet blocked me on Twitter.
Basically, he ends a conversation where he repeatedly said that we have no standards and didn't try to fact check, by saying that he decided not to respond to a request to confirm that he was on the record because "the question was stupid." So, realistically it's an absolute no-win ballgame at that point. Tim's initial article was updated once VADA confirmed that the quoted press release was not from them.
We'd been given a lot of words (I don't know that I'd call it "information") from Genet after the article had gone up. And we could have written a follow-up, clarifying what he wanted clarified and explaining that they were not agreeing to the VADA testing and why. But he did not give us permission nor confirmation that what he was saying to us was on the record.
After that treatment the first time around, he then expected me to reach out to him to "fact check my opinion," as he put it, for an article where I used a direct quote from him.
First of all, it's an opinion piece on his statements. I don't need to "fact check" my opinion that VADA is clearly a better option than NSAC testing. Nor do I need to "fact check" my statements that VADA has been used in high profile, big money boxing matches prior to this fight, so they're not opportunistically trying to swoop in to the Nelson/Carwin fight for legitimacy. There is literally nothing in the post that lacked enough "fact checking" to have been posted.
Second, why would I think about reaching out to a guy who had already blown us off once before, and in a situation where he was the one that initiated contact anyway? I'm not going to bend over backward to make sure that a manager is okay with my having an opinion, that's not my job. His job is to make sure his public statements are something he stands by. If he can't handle criticism of those, then PR is the wrong line of work for him.
He could have handled this in so many better ways. He could have e-mailed me and asked me to work with him to get the information out that he felt needed to get out. That's something I'll do so long as the information a manager is asking to get out is able sourced to him and is reasonable.
Instead, he chose to go after me and the site in public. I am not going to stand idly by while a manager hurls about libelous statements, claiming that I was "lying" about our interactions. That has the ability to significantly harm how people view the site and myself if left unchecked. And that is why this story is being published.
This isn't just bad management by Genet (though, to be clear, engaging in public Twitter arguments certainly is that), it's inappropriate behavior. But behavior that is sadly all too common in the fight game.