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Will the end of AOL Fanhouse take down MMAFighting.com?

Normally I couldn’t give less of a shit about the acquisitions, splits and mergers of big media companies, but this is a story that could affect us MMA fans negatively. MMAFighting.com – hands down the best site for original MMA reporting – is a part of AOL Fanhouse. And now Fanhouse will be replaced by The Sporting News. Basically, instead of AOL footing the bill to create all the content on Fanhouse, they’ll just ‘partner’ with Sporting News and let them do the heavy lifting.

So you can see the obvious concern: Sporting News doesn’t even touch combat sports and MMA Fighting has quietly picked up all the best journos in the field. When Mike Chiappetta is the low man on the totem pole, it says a lot for the quality of your staff. They have Midsy (Michael David Smith), Ariel Helwani, Ben Fowlkes, and the All Elbows team of Esther Lin and E Casey Leydon. Oh, and I can’t forget Daniel Herbertson, our man in Japan.

Here’s what’s being said about people keeping their jobs:

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said today of the status of AOL Fanhouse writers: “We are going to be working with AOL employees on Fanhouse, you have my personal word on that. The focus on Fanhouse … Fanhouse is not going away. Brand and bunch of staffing will be staying around.”

Armstrong did not say whether that “bunch of staffing” will include prominent, full-time AOL Fanhouse contributors.

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.”

While that doesn’t sound good, Bloody Elbow has this reassuring note:

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.”

It fucking better. I need high quality content to steal!

21 COMMENTS
  • GoldenArms says:

    I’ve paid attention to this as I know a writer or two from their Fantasy Baseball staff. It sounds like they’re only going to keep 5-6 writers from the entire Fanhouse staff and people are assuming it’ll be the mma guys.

    btw- these “congratulations, you’re a winner” pop up ads are the most annoying fucking ads on the internet.

  • FiveBoltMain says:

    They better keep Ariel because he does the best interviews in the business!!

  • SHORT_BUS says:

    I’m not concerned. If they let Ariel and those guys go they will resurface and create something better. The cream always rises to the top.

  • DJ ThunderElbows says:

    It would be a tragedy if they ditched that guy. The intertubes would run red with blood.

  • scissors61 says:

    Shit, man, mmafighting is pretty much my go-to site these days for “serious” MMA reporting, mostly due to Fowlkes and Helwani. Like shortbus said, though, if they shitcan the site I’m sure they’ll just make another one. Helwani appears to be the only reporter that Dana White can stand talking to for more than three minutes, so that’s gotta be worth something.

  • iamphoenix says:

    i’ve never been to mmafighting. never watched ariel. he looks boring and jewish/middle eastern.

  • Remco Pardoel says:

    ^^^^^Well, hell, nobody with those qualifications has ever accomplished anything. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis.

  • Simco says:

    “I’m not concerned. If they let Ariel and those guys go they will resurface and create something better. The cream always rises to the top.”

    Stop being a selfish asshole for a moment and you’ll realize that people losing their jobs isn’t something to brush off. Just because the best “always rises to the top” doesn’t mean getting laid off is any less of a pain in the ass.

  • Symbul says:

    Yah it kinda sucks. MMAFighting is pretty great.

    IIRC Helwani is of Lebanese descent, if you’re worried about that.

  • agentsmith says:

    That’s an all-star team of young MMA journos right there, Sporting News would be fools to let any of them go. Which is to say I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.  That’s not an attack on them, cause I don’t know jack about them, I’m just saying that’s how these kind of things often go down.

    Not only does All Elbows do some of the very finest photos in the biz, their t-shirts are fucking awesome. Seriously, my All Elbows tee is my very favorite, most comfiest shirt I own.

  • frickshun says:

    Phoenix–>Ariel is literally the only guy I ever care to hear interviews from. He asks intelligent questions that aren’t the typical softballs you expect from MMA reporters. Plus, his nose is bigger than mine which raises my self-esteem.

    He’s like the Max Kellerman of MMA. Honorary Jackal for sure.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    yeah the little mermaid is probably the only good MMA journalist out there

  • agentsmith says:

    He’s like the Max Kellerman of MMA.

    You mean the owner of the resort in “Dirty Dancing”?  This is getting pretty abstract, but okay, whatever.

  • subo says:

    ^ No the boxing guy

  • MadMan says:

    They ain’t gonna let Ariel go anywhere else…on the contrary…they’ll build their brand around him.

  • GoldenArms says:

    remember when Ariel was trying to get Anderson to dance dirty with him? nobody puts Ariel in the corner.

  • frickshun says:

    GoldenArms–>YOU FUCKING CUNT. I just burst out laughing…….IN MY OFFICE.

  • Omomatta says:

    Shit, maybe Ryan and Jake could scrape their life savings together and throw like….37 bucks at Ariel…..maybe he’ll come on board.

  • SHORT_BUS says:

    @Simco

    Heavy flow day?

  • Predator8u says:

    consolidation is what big business has been fuckin the little man up the ass with the last 6 years(heavyily). You aint got no job if ur parent company, no longer exists. But they cut expense’s. Good for them(stockholders & Executives). bad for the Human race(your grandkids)

    BOW DOWN TO YOUR GE & LOCKHEED MARTIN OVERLORD’S!!!

  • iamphoenix says:

    it was a fucking joke. y’alls some pussies. i just don’t watch interviews anymore, so i just lump then all into being boring because i’m not interested in them, plus they are probably middle eastern.

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