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When It Comes to Mixed Martial Arts Journalists, Mike Chiapetta > All

Finally, someone in the MSM gets it. Finally, finally, finally. His name is Mike Chiapetta and he writes for

The recent tidal wave of mainstream press coverage of our beloved sport in the wake of last weekend's EliteXC event - and to a lesser extent the WEC event in Sacramento - has led to quite a bit hand wringing and moral preening from some. While that isn't anything particularly unexpected even if the articles and ideas are a farrago of nonsense, the truth is that far more often than not, the mainstream press coverage of the media is woefully ignorant, dismissive and downright insulting. In his piece, Chiapetta acknowledges these facts and goes through the trouble of debunking some of the more outrageous arguments. I suggest you read his breakdown.

But the best part is later in the piece. Chiapetta also turns his attention to members of the media who are, ostensibly (hee haw), supporters of the sport and are nevertheless organizational partisans or just distant cousins of their anti-MMA media brethren. Chiapetta, in complete frustration, takes them to task:

Then, there is the disrespect that goes the fighters’ way.

This weekend, both Kevin Iole and Dan Wetzel of described Kimbo Slice’s opponent, James Thompson, as a “tomato can” in published columns.

Iole wrote, “Had Slice faced ex-WWE champion Brock Lesnar, the current UFC rookie hopeful, he’d have been beaten in less than two minutes. As it was, Slice struggled his way to a sloppy third-round knockout of a complete tomato can.”

And Wetzel wrote, “Any promotion that was going to use Kimbo Slice as its main event clearly cared nothing about the quality or growth of the sport. It was just grabbing cheap viewers. If that meant sending a mostly unskilled street fighting sensation against a guy who was such a tomato can he should have dressed in red, then so be it.”

Both men had a larger and more valid point to make, but what was the point of essentially demeaning Thompson?

While it’s true that Thompson has struggled lately and had lost six of his last eight fights prior to Saturday, he still had a winning 14-8 mark in his career. In addition, the six losses were to fighters with a combined record of 50-17-1. He wasn’t losing to low-level fighters; he was losing to guys like Kazuyuki Fujita, who has been in the ring with Mirko Cro Cop and Fedor Emelianenko; to Brett Rogers, who is unbeaten; and to Jon Olav Einemo, whose only loss is a decision to Fabricio Werdum, one of UFC’s top heavyweight contenders.

Mainstream media members often rail at blogs not having to be accountable for what they write, but the characterization of Thompson as a “tomato can” sounds like a shot they knew they’d never have to answer for. Why was there a need to resort to insulting a guy who has always tried hard but struggled at times? I don’t see baseball beat writers describing backups as “scrubs.”

Athletes with the courage it takes to perform should not be subjected to this kind of treatment. Whether they are knocking a sport or an individual, writers should think about what they are telling the world.

Like the fighters and the sport you have no problem bashing, you owe the public an honest effort.

Amen, brother. And then they wonder why we in the blogosphere don't take them seriously. James Thompson, for all his problems, actually has the grit to fight serious talent and favored sons in their backyard. And win, lose or draw, he never taps from strikes, insults his opponents or looks for a way out. Most importantly, he deserves a lot better than the callous dismissals from those whose athletic universe consists of pushing a QWERTY keyboard with their fingers.

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