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UFC’s childish stance with ESPN

By Zach Arnold | July 23, 2009

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Dave Meltzer in this week’s edition of The Observer:

After the piece they did a few months ago, Dana White banned ESPN’s E:60 from being credentialed at UFC 100. The show was looking at doing three more UFC-related stories, a feature on Evan Tanner, Quinton Jackson and to do an updated feature on Brock Lesnar. However there have been signs over the past week that White is softening his stance.

This incident reminds me of when Major League Baseball got pissed off at ESPN for revealing All-Star Game roster selections before TBS did because MLB had a contract with TBS for “exclusively” being able to tell viewers the AS rosters first. Never mind the fact that this “exclusive” means little or nothing to most baseball fans, MLB went on a hissy fit against ESPN and stripped the network of its on-site credentials for the ‘07 game in San Francisco.

However, the UFC hissy fit is significantly more laughable. The E:60 piece on Dana White and his tirade against Loretta Hunt was about as neutered as you could possibly get. There was no hardball on it at all and White did not come off horribly after the show aired. The fact that White held a grudge over a tame, harmless E:60 story is not simply a display of hardball tactics; it’s a display of Vince McMahon-style penny-wise, pound-foolish media paranoia.

Before UFC defenders start saying, “UFC didn’t need ESPN!”, it’s fair to ask: Did UFC need ESPN coverage to help sell UFC 100 PPV buys? Not really. Then again, that’s not the point of this exercise here. When a big sports network wants to give you legitimate coverage, take it. It’s amazing to see the constant behavior from UFC management with ESPN, CNBC, and other television networks.

ESPN, on their YouTube channel, is now posting UFC PPV commercials (the same ‘interviews’ that you can get when you go to UFC.com).

For the sake of reference, here is a transcript of what Dana White said in his infamous Youtube video blog about Loretta Hunt before that video blog got yanked from UFC’s Youtube channel:

“I just heard that there was another absolutely fucking retarded story written by Loretta Hunt. Loretta, you fucking moron, it is always been the policy at the UFC that the fighters get so many credentials and they can credential whoever the fuck they want, it can be their manager, whoever they want to have in the back with them, they can credential. And you are such a fucking genius, I actually, totally off track here, I heard your interview that you did too about where you said Rich Franklin was our poster boy and we were trying not to get him beat by Matt Lindland and all that fucking shit, too. Yeah, that’s why he fought Anderson Silva fucking twice because we were trying to fucking protect Rich Franklin to save him. Rich Franklin’s fought the best fighters in the world and the only reason I’m talking about this is just to show how fucking dumb you are, number one, OK? And it’s always been our policy, always, since fucking day one and you also put in the article apparently that you know I used to manage Tito and Chuck. Yeah? You want to know what happened when I managed Tito and Chuck? When I went to their UFC fights, I bought my own tickets. I paid for my tickets to go to the UFC and never was I allowed in the back, to go back there, what the fuck do I need to be in the back for if I’m his manager? What am I holding the mitts for them while they’re warming up? Am I back there talking strategy? No, I’ve done all the fucking business deals before they go there and my work is done, I go there and I watch the fucking fight. I don’t need to be in the fucking back and if I needed to be in the back that bad, then one of those guys would have credentialed me to get in the back, they would have used me as one of their credentials that they get, OK? 90% of the time, these fighters don’t want their fucking managers in the back. You don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about and to write a story that says, “Oh, and here’s a quote from a guy who wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of repercussions from the,” SHUT THE FUCK UP. Any fucking guy that won’t put his name on it, first of all, whoever gave you that quote is a pussy and a fucking f—-t and a fucking liar and everything else whoever gave you that quote. Or maybe it’s you, Loretta, maybe you’re the liar writing bullshit fucking stories. Everything that comes out of your mouth is fucking stupid, OK? What else… Why would I give a shit who represents who? Yeah, there’s no doubt, there’s some guys out there that have managers that are absolute sleazy, dirty fucking scumbags, absolutely. There’s a lot of them, but there’s a lot of guys out that have a lot of good guys who manage them too, who I have no problem with. Who you fucking ask to manage you doesn’t bother me one bit. Ask fucking Rampage Jackson, OK? Ask Rampage Jackson if I ever said anything about any of his fucking managers or anybody who represented him. Hey Loretta, if you’re going to write a story, you fucking moron, at least make sure it’s fucking true and you have some facts and if you’re going to put some fucking quotes in there, get some quotes from people who at least have the fucking balls to put their fucking name on it. I mean, how do you write a story from a guy who fucking it’s like, hey it’s like in an interview where they fucking like put a black thing over the guy’s face and change his voice and shit, you fucking dumb bitch. Fuck you, Loretta Hunt!”

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “UFC’s childish stance with ESPN”

  1. erik says:

    I like that I get to see free fights because of Dana White. But to tell you the truth I am looking forward to seeing him go down in flames. Money and power don’t mean anything. What goes around comes around, Karma is a bitch

  2. Dr J says:

    And if you want to watch that Loretta Hunt tirade again, MMA HQ still has the video available at: http://blip.tv/file/1948569

  3. urbanraida says:

    The guy is an asscrack

  4. [...] would enact and more like the outlandish demands you’d get from a cranky pop diva. Check out the latest edict to come to light: After the piece they did a few months ago, Dana White banned ESPN’s E:60 from being credentialed [...]

  5. Mr. Roadblock says:

    Just to reiterate because I still don’t get it. You guys are upset about the language, right? Because everything Dana says in that quote is true.

  6. DDD says:

    I am not surprised that Dana White is confrontational with ESPN. He is a very aggressive business man and seems to be trying to control everything that is humanly possible surrounding MMA to create a total monopoly for Zuffa. The media is just another element in which White wishes to control. In a perfect Dana White world, every story ever done about the UFC would be talking about how great the organization is and how it is the biggest thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately for White, there are writers and reporters that call things the way they see it, not the way Dana wants it portrayed.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    ESPN doesn’t understand MMA. Until they do, Dana is going to have a hard time with them. That has been his staked operating procedure.

  8. EJ says:

    Funny how Dana’s rant was supposed to be the end for him yet he got stronger afterwards. The divide between the people who cover the UFC and the fans continues to grow when I read stuff like this. Because for all the supposed controversies surrounding Dana and the UFC they continue to get stronger and get a bigger fanbase and the haters continue to keep looking more pathetic the more they keep it up.

  9. Zack says:

    Why would Dana care about ESPN doing stories on Brock, Quinton, or Tanner? Those guys aren’t even big enough stars to be on the cover of the UFC magazine.

  10. Bryan says:

    Yeah, who would want mainstream exposure for a sport that many ignorant fools still consider to be human cock fighting?

    Dana White can just alienate everyone and they’ll come to him because the UFC will never ever face any adversity in the future.

  11. Ivan Trembow says:

    Yup, they’re going to become one of the biggest sports in the world with this child-like attitude and behavior… (sarcasm intended)

  12. natureboy says:

    ESPN’s online show MMA Live had excellent access to the show. They even had a stage set-up high atop the Mandalay Bay arena (http://tinyurl.com/n29t6x). They understand MMA perfectly. E:60’s subject choices are suspect because Tanner, Rampage and Brock are pretty controversial characters in MMA. These stories could be painted into something bad. E:60 are the ones who decided to casually sneak in a “steroid” question in their interview for Brock’s segment causing him to walk out (http://tinyurl.com/mc2f4e).

  13. spacedog says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. IF Dana wants to go backstage after a fight and try to book fights (Shogun v. Chuck, after the Coleman fight) then management needs to be present. Offering a fight, on film, with out any sort of representation is a low blow and shady dealing. It’s fine not to have a manager present in general but a manager ALWAYS needs to be present when fights are offered of contracts made.

  14. Ivan Trembow says:

    Jeez, do I really need to include the words “sarcasm intended” every single time I’m being sarcastic? I guess so. Here is my previous post with that note added.

    Yeah, because asking a professional athlete about steroids is a completely unreasonable topic. And storming out of the room is a perfectly reasonable course of action if you’re a professional athlete who is asked about steroids. (sarcasm intended)

  15. natureboy says:

    Brock hardly stormed out. He actually thanked the crew while slowly taking off his mic. He didn’t rip it off and step on it (http://tinyurl.com/mc2f4e @ 6:20). I believe I read somewhere that Brock was under the impression the interview was over when they said something to the effect of “Oh wait, we have a few more…” which consisted of the steroid “question.” And from the way it was edited it appears they weren’t being very direct and asking him if he takes/has taken steroids. The part that’s in the show is: “You’re just so big and you come out of the world of Pro Wrestling…” E:60 don’t seem like a respectable journalists to me. And their segments when they’re all talking in the conference room is atrocious. It looks like TMZ’s show with better lighting. My point is UFC is singling out E:60 and not ESPN. Why isn’t E:60 doing pieces on Ken Florian, Miguel Torres or Lyoto Machida?

  16. Ivan Trembow says:

    Well, I think we can at least agree that E:60 is far from being 60 Minutes. E:60 is a softball show that throws softballs at its subjects and rarely asks the tough questions.

    As Zach noted in the original post, that’s part of what is so ironic about this whole situation with Zuffa and E:60.

    They did a softball piece about Dana White’s rant, asking almost none of the obvious questions that a non-softball newsmagazine would ask, and yet that softball piece still produced a child-like temper tantrum from its subject after it aired.

  17. 45 Huddle says:

    Hate to be defending the UFC on another topic, but this was posted on another site:

    http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2009/7/24/960850/bloody-elbow-exclusive-major-espn

    Wow, Dana White is really burning bridges. He has no clue what he is doing. Sarcasm off.

  18. Ivan Trembow says:

    Also, it was Dave Meltzer who reported that the UFC banned E:60 from getting credentialed. He didn’t report that the UFC banned all of ESPN from getting credentialed. And if you’re going to argue that Meltzer is a “UFC hater,” then you would just be showing how little you know. Of course, just by saying this, I could be violating the rule that you established in the other thread (“Don’t mess with the UFC!”).

  19. Alan Conceicao says:

    I’m all for any network deal that goes down so long as it means fewer PPVs a year and better free cards. This isn’t a TV deal. This is an exec with a free seat.

  20. liger05 says:

    Affliction cancelled. Damn its all gone wrong

  21. Ivan Trembow says:

    Alan C— You also have to remember that network TV deals are company killers for an MMA promotion, and that a network TV deal would also badly hurt the UFC because the network would force them to give away PPV main events for free… (sarcasm intended) But that is what some people were saying on this site’s comments section, right? (not you)

  22. Mr. Dream says:

    How do you like being stroked by Ivan?

  23. [...] His rant on Loretta Hunt couldn’t stop him from continuing the video blogs, but apparently a rumored behind-the-scenes type show with HBO can. [...]

  24. [...] was Dana’s infamous video rant against Loretta two years ago (you can read the transcript here). Rampage Jackson also is no fan of [...]

  25. [...] we want to do and even the stuff that’s happened with me, and really in the last 10 years there’s been one thing that I’ve regretted and apologized for and, uh, it was taken out of context. It wasn’t a homophobic slur [...]

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