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Bloggers, faggots, bitches, and ESPN

Evan Rachel Wood has nothing to do with this post, but I sure would like to have her tied up in my basement — err, I mean, I would like to take her out for a lovely dinner.

Here at Fightlinker, we try our best to stay away from boring conversations about “journalism” and “professionalism” and “integrity.”  Topics like fighting, stupid people, and boobs are simply more entertaining — I don’t care who you are. But every once in a while, a situation arises that calls for some commentary.

Luke Thomas over at Bloody Elbow — one of the best MMA sites on the net that doesn’t rhyme with TightStinker — has been very, very vocal about the whole Dana White vlog situation. The ordeal has lead him to go into a discussion on the “real” media vs. the “fake” media: how the two are slowly merging, how the “fake” media does more for the sport, how the “real” media consists of a bunch of kid touchers, and the like.

…We believed if MMA was to be taken seriously, it needed serious writers doing serious work, something that was in short supply just a few short years ago. And the result? The “real media” has slowly but surely woken up. … What the “real media” realized was that “fake media” was ahead of the curve on MMA and actually producing professional, high quality work that was not only worthy of coverage, but was good for their financial bottom line.

But the other culprit here is the media that is credentialed by the UFC; the alleged “real media”, whatever such a clumsy moniker is intended to mean. For our purposes, let’s just use it to mean those credentialed by the UFC. The reality about the “real media” is this: I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with members of the “real media” who incessantly tell me this site and others should be credentialed by the UFC.

My half-retarded thoughts after the jump.

In all fairness, a site like Bloody Elbow should be credentialed by the UFC. A few of the writers over there provide some pretty solid commentary on the sport and have done their part to help the regulation process in certain states. At the same time, the UFC is a private business and can choose who is allowed to receive the privileges that go along with being credentialed at an event. Luke mentions a few blogs that have received credentials and sort of sounds a little bitter that his wasn’t among them, which is understandable. The UFC would no doubt benefit from having some knowledgeable journalists/bloggers/writers at their press events — like those at Bloody Elbow or [gasp] Sherdog — but it is up to the company to decide who gets in and who stays shunned. As shitty as it sounds, Luke would likely be better off dropping the “My site has journalistic integrity and acts in the best interest of the sport” argument and go with something like “My site gets X hits a day and is increasing steadily. You would be stupid not to credential me.” After all, it’s all about the bottom line.

It would make a lot of sense for the UFC to let some of these bloggers at these events, but you can’t blame them. While the internet is largely responsible for keeping this sport afloat over the years, it is also the source of a huge amount of criticism towards the big dog. The UFC is still trying to gain even greater mainstream acceptance from “real” media sources like ESPN, network news programs, and highly regarded papers like the New York Times. The thinking is probably along the lines that they don’t need the “fake” media sources polluting the heads of guys like that with all sorts of facts and opinions.

Overall, I tend to agree with Luke that some of the more visible and professional “blogs” should be credentialed, but its not up to me to decide — it’s up to those running the private business of the UFC. With that aside, the one thing I feel needs to be pointed out is Mr. Thomas’ constant stressing of the words “real” and “fake” with quotations, as if to say “These terms don’t really mean anything because my site is more real then most outlets that are actually considered to be real.”

Fact of the matter is, while the internet is growing by the day with more and more people getting their news and information from computers as opposed to newspapers, those who work for print publications are thought to have a certain level of credibility that those who pump out articles on the interwebs simply lack. Maybe it’s because most writers who work for the real media — which mainly describes print publications and their online versions — went to school for it and have a nice framed degree to prove it. Maybe it’s because writers who work for real media work in an industry that has been around for a very long time. There are a host of reasons, but the point is that as of this writing, a writer working for a place called the Press & Sun Times is going to be given much more credibility then someone working for a place that ends in “dot com.”

An internet blogger — even a really thoughtful, intelligent internet blogger — is still an internet blogger. It’s akin to anyone who has the skills necessary to work in a certain profession who is shafted in favor of someone with lesser skills but the right resume. It’s a daily part of the world we live in.

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