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Loretta Hunt: CBS Sports won’t cover UFC because of Zuffa’s media policy

By Zach Arnold | April 12, 2011

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Jason Probst & Loretta Hunt did a series of online segments on Monday discussing the political and business fallout from last Saturday’s Strikeforce show in San Diego which featured Zuffa’s presence in terms of managing/running things. One interesting note (which you can watch here) is Loretta claiming that Mr. Kato, the man behind Real Entertainment and one of the top suits during the PRIDE days (a buddy of Nobuyuki Sakakibara), was there at the show in San Diego. Bet that was a fun encounter with the Japanese and Zuffa brass. Zuffa sued Sakakibara after the PRIDE asset sale agreement and we all know about reports suggesting that Sakakibara & Kato are sharing an office in Tokyo (with Kato wanting to become a public face for future Japanese events).

An item from the weekend that generated buzz online was the fact that Zuffa took over the media credentials process for Strikeforce shows. That means the standard UFC operating procedure with contracts and media access now applies to SF events that were once very much open to the press. The restricted media list includes Loretta Hunt, Josh Gross (ESPN), Sherdog, and other media writers that don’t have close business relationships with the organization.

Loretta commented on not getting credentialed for the San Diego event.

“Did it hurt me? Yeah, sure. That was my first assignment for CBS Sports. I worked with one of the editors, producers over there who does the NFL and also had done MMA in the past. His name is Denny Burkholder, he’s a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts and CBS Sports, I’m told, hasn’t really covered MMA for the last year or so for various reasons I’m told because they’ve had some difficulty with getting interviews and things like that in the past, so they kind of cooled off from it and then they were coming back in, this was the first show that they were going to do in quite some time. They brought me in, assigned me, and then we were turned down. So, CBS Sports decided that they just weren’t going to do any coverage at all of the UFC. They don’t want to be told who they can send to their events and who they shouldn’t send to their events representing them.

“Yeah, I mean that I’m sad this door closed. I mean, a door really did close. CBS Sports is not going to look at MMA for at least a little while.”

The premise of CBS Sports not covering MMA extensively because they can’t get credentialed by Zuffa is a fascinating topic in and of itself. It should be noted that I’ve offered in the past to write articles on CBS for nothing and that got turned down, so Loretta is right in saying that the political brass did not want to touch MMA content.

With that said, Sherdog finds plenty of ways to interview fighters without having Zuffa show credentials. Nobody’s stopping them and Crave Online from making a nice bottom line for business.

Interestingly, you could juxtapose this to the kerfuffle that happened at The Masters over the weekend in Augusta when security banned a female reporter from a media room to cover the event. That said, Augusta has always been an easy whipping boy for the press for being a good ‘ol Southern white sexist club dating back to Martha Burk’s protests of Hootie Johnson, so there’s no surprise that the media would have a field day with a controversy like this. However, you rarely hear anything about the way UFC handles the press in the manner in which they do. The only time it blew up in their face was Dana’s infamous video rant against Loretta two years ago (you can read the transcript here). Rampage Jackson also is no fan of hers.

Just like Augusta had to apologize to the reporter in question, Dana White issued his own apology but it was with a lot less slobbering and a lot more mocking.

Back to what Loretta had to say about where CBS Sports stands when it comes to covering MMA and why the topic should matter to everyone.

“Yeah, you know, I don’t want to speak out of turn. I just, I had some conversation with CBS Sports a little bit. They just haven’t really covered Mixed Martial Arts so much because, uh, you know, because like I said I don’t want to speak out of turn but I definitely got the indication that, you know, when they were running the Elite XC events on CBS which was a competitor, you know, I think some of the access that they wanted to get in interviewing certain people and stuff was difficult for them. They felt some kind of restriction, so they kind of backed away from it and this was them kind of dipping their toe back in the water again and, you know, something like this happens again and it just reinforces, you know, the UFC and their take on the Mixed Martial Arts media and them trying to decide, you know, who they want to sent and who they don’t want to send and… you know, there’s no… there’s no secret that, uh… there’s some kind of vendetta against me. You know, I’m not welcome at the UFC shows, I haven’t been for some time. I’ve been in and out of this media ban since October 2005 when I started. You know, I’m obviously not welcome at the events probably for any outlet that I work for. You know, I’m with Sports Illustrated now and still if I apply for a credential with SI I’m not going to be allowed in either.

“But, you know, the bigger picture here is, it’s not just about me, there’s other people involved, too. There’s other media that’s not allowed in. It’s the UFC’s decision that they’re going to do this because, from everything I’ve been told, this doesn’t happen in other sports. Journalists are granted credentials if they work for a reliable media outlet and, you know, are responsible reporters. I don’t think it’s been proven that any of us on this banned/restricted list were ever irresponsible in our reporting, we haven’t been. So, you know, that’s the bigger picture with the media ban for people are kind of stepping into this and seeing this for the first time.”

After this comment, she and Jason fretted over a recent online post by Mark Cuban in which he talked about how useless the online media is for sports and that they don’t carry themselves like the print media did in the past. He talked about how broken the financial model is for sports media and that he could buy out most writers if he wanted to do so and draw as much business on his platforms than the ones currently being used. He also heaped praise on UFC’s way of handling media and this upset Loretta, but I think Mark was more or less praising UFC for their media strategy on the social networking sites (especially Facebook) and with Dana’s vision for where content is heading for online/on-demand distribution.

In this last video clip, listen to what Jason had to say about how ‘ambivalent’ he is in regards to MMA because of the kinds of fans that go to the shows. He puts it in context of trying to do his job and how hard it is without getting media credentials to do things like live PBP, shoot interviews, so on and so forth. For four minutes, it’s a burial of MMA fans and a regret that he didn’t go into covering a sport like curling. If I’m a casual MMA fan who goes on Twitter or FB and I stumble in seeing two MMA media writers talking about how they are banned from getting credentials for Zuffa shows, the last thing that would persuade me as a fan to believe they deserve any credentials is getting buried (as a fan) for how I look, what I wear, and how I behave at the fights.

Anyways, here was the final comment Loretta had to say on the matter.

“(Zuffa) wants to move into being a mainstream sport and a mainstream league at this point, like I don’t think that’s there any argument that UFC is now the our league of our sport, right? The thing that we didn’t think would happen but it happened and, you know, I gladly I can admit that and say that about this sport. If they want to be like all the other leagues, you know, the NBA like you know barring whatever Mark Cuban is considering, the NFL, all these other guys they don’t restrict the media and I bet you they don’t like the media that comes through because they are probably a lot more critical in other sports than the hardest critics are in Mixed Martial Arts. So, what’s happening is extraordinary and makes us seem kind of hokey, you know, Mixed Martial Arts compared to all the other sports. What other big promotion do you know that doesn’t let the media in? It’s the WWE, it’s the professional wrestling. They don’t let certainly media in that they don’t like, who they don’t want covering certain things. Dave Meltzer’s been banned from the WWE for years. So the UFC’s following a model of a fake sport!”

Topics: MMA, Media, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 92 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

92 Responses to “Loretta Hunt: CBS Sports won’t cover UFC because of Zuffa’s media policy”

  1. Jonathan Luther says:

    Ed. — Thanks for the tip, JL, on the typo.

    I think media should be allowed to cover an event based on legitimacy rather than whether or not they’re on your good side, but that’s just me.

    • chris says:

      Loretta Hunt is a leech and is playing the sympathy card. Her and Gross can go produce some fuged up kids and stay away from mma sites I visit. That being said, CBS Sports could have sent someone else, ESPN could have sent someone in for Josh the pedo as well.

      Is a media block out on a case by case basis? yeah in a nut shell it is. But I can’t help but laugh at these fools who have been crying for years about not being given access to the free craft services table, a spot while doing photos myself for the IFL and bodog, know all to well that Jeff Sherwood would frequent the tables often.

      In the end it isn’t espn or cbs crying foul, its just once again the same bastard children of ufc reporting leading their cries for all to hear.

      • chris says:

        Is anyone here going to say that the NFL or MLB doesn’t restrict press credentials as well? Or that THEY dont have a blacklist of journalists, regardless of what their paychecks say in the upper left corner?
        Ofcourse they do, and I’m pretty certain if you got under the MLB, NFL, NBA or the NHL’s skin enough that credentials to individuals will be revoked too.

      • chris says:

        I ment to say …is a media site blackout on a case by case basis STUPID? yes, in a nutshell it is.

  2. EJ says:

    Wait, CBS Sports hasn’t been covering mma and now they are getting their panties in a twist because Hunt was banned from covering SF?

    Boy there is so much wrong there I don’t know what to take on first. Ok the idea that CBS hasn’t been covering MMA before this is a freaking joke and basically exposes them as a joke. Sorry but this isn’t mma before TUF there is zero excuse for any top sports site to not cover the sport.

    Second if they want to put their backing behind Hunt of all people than they deserve what they get. She is a horrible writer and reporter and if they think for a second that backing her is a good move when Dana can’t stand her than they are idiots.

    • Kalle says:

      CBS didn’t “back” Hunt. They hired her to do a job which they thought she was qualified for. If Dana White is unprofessional and petty enough to piss off an entire sports network because he can’t stand a reporter then that’s his problem. Not theirs.

      • Steve4192 says:

        My question is, why didn’t they see this coming?

        It is common knowledge that Hunt is persona non grata at Zuffa events. Her being banned from a Zuffa event comes as a surprise to no one. Did CBS honestly believe that Zuffa would suddenly reverse course just because she was now employed by them?

        If CBS wanted access at live events, they never should have hired Hunt. It’s that simple. They should have known this was coming when they hired her.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “Did CBS honestly believe that Zuffa would suddenly reverse course just because she was now employed by them?”

          My guess would be yes, they did. I think it’s the old media mentality of “we are the big news media” every wants/needs us…so someone with the brass is just out of touch with how the current media age works. They don’t NEED you…on the flipside, CBS Sports doesn’t need them either, so who cares.

        • Steve4192 says:

          Agreed.

          Neither party NEEDS the other.

          I am just incredulous that no one at CBS bothered to research Zuffa’s history with the media before hiring her. If you are on their shit list, you aren’t getting credentials, no matter who you work for. They did the same thing to ESPN.com when they signed on Sherdog as their content provider for MMA, and only restored those credentials when Josh Gross left for Sports Illustrated, at which point they promptly banned SI.

          If Zuffa was willing to ban major outlets like ESPN and SI at a time when they were just starting to build their empire, what made CBS think they would be the exception now that the empire is at it’s peak?

        • Kalle says:

          Media companies are, generally, not going to let other companies dictate who they’re employing or sending to cover any particular event because that raises nasty editorial issues and media companies don’t like to see their independence put to question.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS let Loretta Hunt go sometime in the future but short-term I’d be amazed if they *didn’t* stand by their employee.

        • Steve4192 says:

          “Media companies are, generally, not going to let other companies dictate who they’re employing or sending to cover any particular event “

          I understand that once she is on your payroll, you need to stick to your guns and back her up. What I don’t get is if you have these big plans about revamping your (lack of) MMA coverage, why in the world you hire someone who is blackballed by the biggest player in the industry. That is just asking for trouble. Why in the world would you try and launch a new initiative with a blackballed reporter?

      • Steve4192 says:

        “If Dana White is unprofessional and petty enough to piss off an entire sports network because he can’t stand a reporter then that’s his problem.”

        Given CBSSports.com’s level of commitment to MMA, I’d say it is no great loss. Just go to their site and try to find MMA. It doesn’t even have it’s own tab. It’s under ‘More Sports’ and even then it just redirects you to the UG. How pitiful is that? They don’t even have a blank stub for MMA. It just hotlinks to an external MMA forum.

  3. Stel says:

    Heh, I just figured out why Diaz always turns away with a bummed look on his face during Helwani’s interviews with him. Ariel’s breath smells like Dana’s dick.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Dude that’s uncalled for, like really inappropriate.

      I like this place and Zach gives everyone a lot of leeway, and while I may vehemently disagree with some people 99% of the time they can at least articulate their opposing viewpoint without resorting to disgusting personal attacks and ridiculous pot shots. Do not turn this site into one of those troll sites.

      • Steve4192 says:

        Agreed.

        Go back to Sherdog or Team Takeover if you want to make dick jokes and throw around homophobic slurs.

        • Tommy says:

          Since it appears is everyone is going one way in this comment thread let me say this

          How many MMA journalists out there have written a New York Times best seller, written for ESPN, SI and the LA Times, and was the editor of the largest MMA news site on the web.

          That said as fans of MMA shouldn’t we want major sports sites like Fox, NBC and CBS sports outlets to cover the sport? The sport grows when mainstream news outlet take the time to cover it. Shouldn’t we encourage that type of behavior?

          Devil’s advocate

        • Steve4192 says:

          Not sure why you chose to reply here, but I agree that the more coverage the better.

          But the reality is, Zuffa has a shit list and is notorious for enforcing that shit list at all costs. Reality ain’t always pretty, but sometimes you just have to adapt and move on. If you are a news outlet and want to be credentialed for Zuffa events, you simply cannot use someone who is on that list. You have every right to hate it, but a well-informed pragmatic editor would not send someone who has 0% chance of getting credentialed. Whether it be because of hubris or ignorance, CBSSports.com made a foolish decision and got burned for it.

          I also question how truly committed they were to MMA coverage given that (1) their site doesn’t even have an MMA page and (2) they were willing to punt on their coverage plans based on a simple snub. If they were truly committed to covering the sport, they would have used their contacts within CBS/Showtime to attempt to work something out rather than just saying ‘fuck it’ at the first sign of adversity.

        • nottheface says:

          ” But the reality is, Zuffa has a shit list and is notorious for enforcing that shit list at all costs. Reality ain’t always pretty, but sometimes you just have to adapt and move on. If you are a news outlet and want to be credentialed for Zuffa events, you simply cannot use someone who is on that list.”

          My one major problem with this idea is that you are handing over editorial control to the UFC by allowing them to pick and choose who can cover them. If that’s the case then it should no longer be called news but instead marketing.

        • Steve4192 says:

          I agree, but it is what it is.

          If you aren’t OK with the UFC’s policies regarding certain blackballed reporters, then why bother even making plans to cover the sport?

          Making a stand in principal is all well and good, but sometimes you need to be pragmatic about things. I could understand them standing behind her if Zuffa decided to blackball her for something she did while at CBSSports.com. That makes sense. But hiring someone who has a preexisting toxic relationship with the #1 promoter in the sport you want to cover is just plain dumb.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    If CBS really wanted to cover MMA they would fire her and get somebody who has credentials. CBS just doesn’t care enough about MMA and this gives them an easy way out of not covering it.

    Hunt is a horrible reporter. She has been caught for plagiarizing. She has done unwarranted hit pieces on Zuffa. She is generally just a bad writer. She has no business writing for CBS in the first place.

    And let’s be honest about CBS. They are in the MMA business and didn’t want to cover the UFC because they were going against one of their brands.

    So CBS played the game. Zuffa played the game. Hunt is caught in the middle.

    People will go to where the information is. It’s CBS’s loss

    • Jonathan says:

      /shout But she wrote that one book about Randy Couture!

      All kidding aside, I have to agree with you here. She has always come off as a rube to me, and I never thought, whether on the web or in videos, that she had a true understanding of the sport like, say, a Josh Gross or a Jordan Breen does.

      And so, she says that CBS will continue to cover MMA, but not cover the Zuffa owned products….so I take it I will see her in Shawnee, OK at the River Wind Casino and Resort for Bellator, and maybe she’ll pop up at a some local KOTC shows to give an op-ed.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      • Steve4192 says:

        “And so, she says that CBS will continue to cover MMA, but not cover the Zuffa owned products”

        I found that amusing as well.

        Good luck building an audience with articles about Bellator, Moosin, and Shark Fights.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Add me to the +1s. As I said in an earlier thread/story comments – at this rate Hunt and Gross (though Gross is trying to get back in their good books lately) will be relegated to covering Iowa and Alabama semi-pro mma by 2012.

        Headline: “Taichi Palace Fights MMA’s Promotion of the Future”

        • 45 Huddle says:

          And whether or not Gross gets back in the good graces of Zuffa…. He still is a good reporter. And he deserves to be at Zuffa events. He does his due dilegence. I have completely disagreed with his point of view in the past, but he has at least turned a corner in not pushing his agenda.

          Hunt has never been good. And I’m glad she is relegated to the minors.

  5. Chris says:

    I hate Hunt, (I cant stand her and she is terrible. I’m glad she cant get into these events.

    Oh and the NBA and other leagues have banned reporters so get that straight.

    I guess if the NBA bans a reporter from covering the Heat and Meltzer is banned from teh WWE then the NBA is following a fake sport.

    Duh. And does anyone care f CBSsports is covering mma? They clearly dont care about it.

    It not like a fan cant go to a real mma site and get 10x better coverage.

    • The Gaijin says:

      To be fair, I believe the NBA/NHL/NFL/MLB have in the past refused to credential (or continue to credential) bloggers (even those with lots of reach and following), but I don’t recall ever, or if so it’s a rarity, one of the big sports leagues “banning” reporters or refusing to give them credentials.

      I mean “Brooksie” (aka Tortorella’s buddy Larry Brooks of the New York Post) has an outright feud with the Rangers coach and has been openly critical of the coach and players, yet he’s still getting credentials for press conferences and interviews, etc.

      At some point Dana and Lorenzo need to be big boys and realize that they’re open to criticism too and it does no good to just have endless fanboy press release stories.

      • cutch says:

        It happens, the biggest one I know is of Manchester United (biggest sports team in the world) manager Alex Ferguson refusing to speak to the BBC since 2004 and the BBC are actually entitled to interviews, since they pay for TV rights.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Thanks for the info. Sadly I don’t really follow futbol. Been to a number of MLS games and I should really follow the good stuff (I watch the odd game here and there), but I’m more of a “tune in for Champions League, Euro Cup and World Cup” type of fan aka the lamest fan.

  6. Jason Harris says:

    Who actually LIKES Loretta Hunt? We all like writing stories about her beef with UFC, but seriously, can anyone think of some awesome article she wrote?

    Secondly, I feel little sympathy for a bunch of whiny journalists who can’t get free passes to watch fights. The same people who complain you can’t see cageside, and that judges need monitors to really see the fight, are getting super pissy when they don’t get their cageside seats for free. Why is that?

    There’s a reason Helwani and MMA Fighting don’t catch shit, and it’s not because they suck up. They actually cover the sport like a legitimate news org. They aren’t writing trollish hit pieces like Hunt or the gossip queens at Bloody Elbow. They cover all the orgs, they update promptly, they’re accurate, thorough and have all sorts of content. That’s good.

    Does the MMA world really NEED Loretta Hunt? Or CBS Sports, for that matter? Do we even want either of them?

    • The Gaijin says:

      Given that Zuffa/Strikeforce is on a channel under the CBS network umbrella, it would be nice if they had that same media family providing coverage and access wouldn’t it?

      Not necessary. But one would think it would be nice.

      • Steve4192 says:

        Strikeforce has been running on the same network for over a year now with absolutely no coverage from them. MMA has never been a priority at CBSSports.com, not even when it was on the CBS network. They don’t even have an MMA page on the site. It just redirects to the UG.

        • edub says:

          Exactly.

          Suddenly they want to cover the sport when Zuffa gets involved with their promotion. Strikeforce has been on their network for over a year now with absolutely NO coverage. They should have done their research. I guarantee CBSSports parts ways with Hunt at some point.

        • Steve4192 says:

          I think that is a pretty safe bet given her job history. Loretta doesn’t seem to last anywhere more than a year or two at a time. From Sherdog to the Fight Network back to Sherdog to the LA Times to CBS to SI (and I’m sure there are a few others I have forgotten), she can’t seem to hold down a job anywhere.

    • Jonathan says:

      As I noted earlier, she helped write that one book about Randy Couture.

  7. Garret says:

    I wonder if Kawajiri, Takaya, and Aoki have contracts with Real rather than FEG.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    “They don’t let certainly media in that they don’t like, who they don’t want covering certain things. Dave Meltzer’s been banned from the WWE for years. So the UFC’s following a model of a fake sport!”

    Let me be the first to congratulate Hunt on this truly thought provoking expose! I know a lot of people don’t want to mention mma and pro wrestling in the same sentence, but by G-d she went there and really pulled the kimono open on this whole operation!!

  9. AKH says:

    So let me get this straight. A “reporter” for a major media outlet (CBS) makes the following statements (on video) about the biggest promoter in mma:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPeDkqHB0Zg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWVzkBaG8H8
    starting at 1:04

    So what the f#$& does she expect from the UFC? She goes on camera and says that DW purposely fired a fighter because they didn’t want him beating their chosen guy. Really? So then why did they bring in Anderson Silva (also bald and lanky. plus didn’t speak english) who beat “pretty boy” Franklin twice?

    And she still thinks she’s never done anything shady (journalistically speaking). Wow.

    • edub says:

      Wow, out of everyone Rich Franklin? The guy with great take down defense who beats up guys who can’t strike in a 5 round fight. How does someone who follows the sport closely think that Lindland was a legitimate threat to Franklin? It baffles me.

      I would have bet $10,000 on Franklin against Lindland (or even Henderson for that matter) in a five round fight in 2005-2006. Let alone today.

    • Steve4192 says:

      As a Rich Franklin fan, I always found that whole conspiracy theory distasteful and disrespectful as hell. Rich deserves better than to be labeled a paper champion who had to be protected.

      Lindland was cut because, at a time when the casino’s held the upper hand in the relationship with Zuffa, he repeatedly ignored requests that he not represent his offshore casino sponsor on the premises of the brick & mortar casino holding the event. It wasn’t just a t-shirt either. He set up a damn booth. Lindland chose to ignore the requests since his sponsor actually paid him more than the UFC did, and he reaped the consequences of his actions. Zuffa was under a TON of pressure from the host casino and got tired of having to apologize for Matt’s defiance.

      Rich deserved better than to have his legitimacy questioned and his name dragged through the mud by Zuffa haters and Lindland apologists.

      • Rich really was a paper champion. No one at the time believed that he was really the best middleweight in the world in large part because he had won a title vacated by someone who left for more money in PRIDE. If he wants to blame someone for not getting the respect “he deserves”, he should blame himself for dropping fights later in his career to the guys he needed to make his case with like Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, and Anderson Silva.

        • Steve4192 says:

          It’s not Rich’s fault that Zuffa couldn’t keep pace with PRIDE’s payscale in those days. Busta left for greener pastures and there was nothing Rich could do about it.

          By that standard, EVERYBODY in the MMA was a paper champion back in those days. Wand was a paper champion because of his unavenged loss to Tito, Hughes & Gomi were paper champions because of unavenged losses to Penn, Sylvia was a paper champion because he never beat Barnett, etc.

        • Lots of guys were paper champions then. Just like lots of guys are paper champions now in boxing. Just like lots of guys are paper champions in MMA now. Why is that so hard to accept? Some of those cases are ridiculous in that they obviously rose to the top of their weight class thanks to the promotion they were in having all the best talent (Hughes, Gomi) at the weight class at that time. Besides, BJ was never the linear lightweight champion. Never #1 in the world until after his return to 155 in the UFC following TUF 5. Really, he still has never been linear champ. But that’s not really my point. Point is that putting a belt on Rich Franklin means nothing. Just like that same belt on Dave Menne meant nothing.

        • edub says:

          In thinking that there really has never been a lineal champ at 155. Gomi was the closest thing, but that was only because BJ moved up to 170+ after he beat him. Nor 205 until Pride and the UFC merged. Makes sense.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I’m not sure why the linear Lightweight title is even being discussed. Aoki is the linear champion and nobody thinks he is #1 in the world. Go ahead and make a Top 10 linear Top 10 rankings at Lightweight. Aoki is #1. Melendez is #2. Kawajiri is #3. And then it gets ugly really fast…. It has no real resemblence to reality. The division became so fractured at one point that the linear thing didn’t work on it.

        • edub says:

          Ah, I’m glad you brought this up because after Alan’s comment I’ve been building the tree: Starts at PRIDE Shockwave 2005, Takanor Gomi defeast Mach Sakurai (makes the most sense to start here because BJ was no longer in the division and Gomi was on such a streak. Along with Sakurai having high profile wins over Hansen and Pulver), Gomi then lost the title to Marcus Aurelio at Bushido 10, Aurelio then lost the title to Ishida at Bushido 11, Ishida than lost the title back to Gomi at Shockwave 2006, Here is where it gets really hazy: Gomi then lost to Nick Diaz, but Nick Diaz tested positive for Weed, in situations like this the linear title is then stripped from everyone. Now the two best other fighters in the world at this time were probably SHerk and Penn who entered back into the rankings a couple months later with his win over Pulver. Gomi (still being ranked highly then went on to beat a couple guys then lost to Sergei Golyaev which dropped him considerably. At this time JZ and Aoki were climbing the rankings (without beating much of anyone ranked wise BTW except Vitor Ribeiro and Joachim Hansen). However they would never be high up in rankings in a linear situation so JZ and Aoki’s eventual fight was never a linear situation. BJ vs. Sherk was much closer to that level, but without a defeat of Gomi or anyone that fought or defeated him they still had no claim to the crown. Since this titles have changed hands and three people have legitimate claims to the best in the world (edgar, Maynard, and Melendez). However, NOBODY is Lineal champion.

        • edub is on point: Gomi was still the consensus #1 lightweight in the world in fact until Penn beat Sherk – then he got elevated above him in a lot of polls (though not unanimously). Sherk himself, we should note, was essentially stripped of the lightweight title as a result of testing positive for steroids in the Hermes Franca bout and made just one defense (the Franca fight) of the lightweight title he won against a then generally unranked Kenny Florian. Meanwhile, BJ Penn’s one lightweight win in some 3 years was against Jens Pulver, also unranked by that point in time.

          None of that changes that Gomi was undoubtedly the top lightweight fighter in the world and linear champion after winning the PRIDE LW GP. He was certainly not a paper champion because he had lost to BJ Penn over two years prior to beating Mach Sakurai at Dynamite 2005. Particularly so since Penn didn’t fight at LW after that bout for 4 years.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Gomi won the linear title by beating Kawajiri within the last year. Which is why he is ahead of Melendez despite losing to him.

          Outside of Alvarez & Aoki, the rest of my Top 10 Lightweights are all under the Zuffa banner. And Alvarez has lost to Aoki who has lost to Melendez. So neither of those guys have claim to the #1 ranking in the world.

          Speaking of a complete mess of linear rankings…. Welterweight gets even better. GSP is #1. Penn is #2. Hughes is #3 (he got back to #2 at one point when he beat Serra). Ebersole is #4. Lytle is #5. Serra is #6. I think Fitch is #7 and Alves is #8 if my memory serves me right.

        • edub says:

          No he’s not. The Gomi fight against Sergei Golyaev would never have been for a linear title because he would have lost that status in his NC against Nick Diaz. It would have been vacant at that point, not just going back to gomi because of the failed drug test.

          You’re right welterweight is screwed up too,

        • 45 Huddle says:

          No contest would mean Gomi still holds onto the fictional belt.

        • edub says:

          Nope, it’s been vacated by the sanctioning body the few times it’s happened instead of going directly back to the champion (regular belts) so that’s what I base my fictional scenario on.

          Although come to think about it we are now debating a fictional scenario so I’ll just agree.

        • edub says:

          “…few times it’s happened in boxing”

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Linear rankings are an invention of MMA fans who want to discredit the concept of linear titles. They don’t actually exist.

    • nottheface says:

      Do you have a link to the full quote in the documentary where she is discussing how the UFC was protecting Franklin? Or has anyone seen it? Curious if it was edited to be this definitive or if she was less specific in the original interview.

      • Steve4192 says:

        I’ve seen the whole thing, and that clip was pretty representative of her comments in the film.

        Loretta & Gross went all in on backing up Lindland’s side of the story. Sherwood was a lot more measured and recognized both sides had some valid points. I was pretty surprised how even-handed he was. I chalk that up to him being an entrepreneur himself and realizing sometimes you have to do unpopular things in order for your business to succeed.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    It’s funny reading through these comments. People on this website don’t agree about much…. But almost universally, everybody agrees Loretta Hunt isn’t very good. That is saying something….

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    And according to folks on The UG (and I checked it out myself)…. If you go to cbs sports website and click on the MMA link, it brings you to the UG.

    Which is likely another reason why CBS isn’t being credentialed. They don’t really cover the sport, so why waste a spot for them?

    • The Gaijin says:

      “And according to folks on The UG (and I checked it out myself)…. If you go to cbs sports website and click on the MMA link, it brings you to the UG.”

      Well Dana and Joe Rogan actually contribute by posting on the UG…so you are saying that in refusing CBSSports media credentials, that Zuffa has refused to credential DANA AND JOE FROM A “ZUFFA” EVENT?!?!!? ZZOOMMGGG!!!!!11111!!!

  12. “MMA has never been a priority at CBSSports.com, not even when it was on the CBS network.”

    This statement is pretty ignorant to the history of CBSSports.com’s coverage of MMA. The site was one of the first mainstream sports site’s to cover MMA. The site was home to Sam Caplan for the longest time before he started his own 5ozofpain site, and he continued to write for the CBS site after he started his blog. the site also had really good stuff by Todd Martin, who I worked with at MMAPayout..

    as Zach noted in the story and most of his readers have just kinda ignored is that there was significant coverage there and that has been scaled back because of the PR and credentialing vagaries of the UFC, making it harder for them to do their job….

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Oh give me a break.

      CBS has had a financial interest in competition to the UFC for multiple years. They started with a preview show to the WFA on Showtime. It expanded to EliteXC, Strikeforce, and even M-1. They weren’t even covering their own shows with Strikeforce in 2011. There were zero barriers for coverage. They own Showtime. And they still decided not to really cover it with an indepth news page. They could have easily obtained video and print information from Strikeforce and they didn’t.

      They just didn’t want to cover MMA indepth like Yahoo or ESPN does. That’s fine. But when you don’t even have a MMA link and you hire a woman who has done enough bad things that she can’t get credentialled, CBS is basically saying they don’t care to cover the sport at this time.

      If they were honestly serious about this, they would hire the right people and make a push at it. They are not, so this is what they get.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Not to mention they basically let EVERYONE who had a blog or website get press credentials for a SF event, as illustrated by the illiterates that were on here after the 1st round of the HWGP complaining they didn’t give them a free iPad and let them drive in a limo with the talent before and after fights.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “there was significant coverage there and that has been scaled back”

      LOL

      Scaled back like the Dinosaur population has been scaled back. There is no coverage on CBSSports. NONE. Just a hotlink to the UG, buried under a layer of sub-menus.

      I agree that they had some interesting coverage back in their Sportsline days, but ever since the shift to CBSSports.com and the demise of EliteXC, they haven’t covered the sport AT ALL.

  13. The Gaijin says:

    Oddly, the Daley vs. Diaz SF event pulled solid, if not spectacular numbers, even with all of the hoopla over the Zuffa buyout.

    http://mmajunkie.com/news/23209/strikeforce-diaz-vs-daley-ratings-prove-strong-peak-with-806000-viewers.mma

    • cutch says:

      Yeah not the greatest but the way Loretta Hunt was talking like Zuffa were keeping an eye on things and giving a helping hand, here and there. That was with the running of the show, I would assume they did the same with the general promoting/advertising of the show and will probably make changes in both areas come June.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Yeah, sorry didn’t mean that I thought Zuffa “promotion” was going to have a major effect (too late in the process), just that I thought there might be a general spike in the numbers given people’s interest seemed to have been heightened re. all the Zuffa buyout buzz.

  14. cutch says:

    Bellator did big numbers for them, the second largest of the season.

    * Bellator 35 ratings: 200,000 viewers
    * Bellator 36 ratings: 230,000
    * Bellator 37 ratings: 173,000
    * Bellator 38 ratings: 150,000
    * Bellator 39 ratings: 174,000
    * Bellator 40 ratings: 218,000

    • Steve4192 says:

      No competition from college hoops or the UFC. I guess the overlap with Strikeforce doesn’t hurt them as bad as the other two.

    • Chuck says:

      So……..More people were interested in Joe Askren than Eddie Alvarez? What led to the sizable uptick in viewership? And the Strikeforce event did solid numbers too, so are more people checking out non-UFC mma now?

  15. edub says:

    Here’s a fun recent article relating to our discussion here today.

    http://media.about.com/b/2011/03/20/do-sports-teams-have-the-right-to-control-media-coverage.htm

  16. Rob Maysey says:

    “I think media should be allowed to cover an event based on legitimacy rather than whether or not they’re on your good side, but that’s just me.”

    Agree with this statement, but not all “media” are even close to legitimate, including some known names with seemingly impressive credentials.

    Play both sides of the fence, get left out in the cold.

  17. [...] welcomed with opened arms at Strikeforce events. Not anymore. Neither Sherdog nor Loretta Hunt who was attempting to cover the show for CBS Sports were granted credentials to Saturday’s [...]

  18. manapua says:

    The UFC does not need her

  19. [...] credential, and as topics go, since Zuffa took over Strikeforce’s media relations it’s become something to talk about.  At issue is the denial of certain reporters press credentials.  So what’s the [...]

  20. robthom says:

    Loretta Hunt is kinda cute.

    • edub says:

      Let’s see if he shows up and educates us as he does on BloodyElbow from time to time.

    • Kim Chee says:

      Luke Thomas pats himself on the back so often it would make Barry Horowitz blush.

    • EJ says:

      Someone who works for the joke that is BE is the last person who should be trying to teach anyone anything. That place is the perfect example as to why mma writers and so called journalist are held in such low regards. Basically the place has become a sounding board of how evil Zuffa is and has over taken Sherdog for the most poorly written and ridiculous mma pieces on the web.

      • The Gaijin says:

        FYI – He doesn’t “work” for BE anymore, he’s the head/managing editor of SBNation. I say “work” because I don’t think he was getting paid a dime at BE, but he’s salaried at SBN.

  21. Chromium says:

    Honestly, Zuffa could stand to be less restrictive with their media policies. I mean, yeah, there are some haters out there, but among journalists who already cover the sport, or mainstream sports journalists who have the potential to bring coverage of the sport to a larger audience, I don’t see what they have to lose here. They practically are the sport now, on the major league level.

    • edub says:

      I really don’t think they are doing this with the thought of letting reporters like Hunt and Gross have too much leway to ask questions. It seems to me that the only reason they are taking away their credentials is they don’t like them, and they think CBS and ESPN will eventually just use other reporters when covering MMA.

      They really want Loretta and Josh to suffer it seems. I think that is the only endgame for them.

  22. robthom says:

    I dont know…

    hunt is kind of like a Ken Shamrock of journalists.

    She goes WAY back and deserves at bit of respect just for that.

    She IS one of US!

    And I mean “US” before I was even one of us.

    She probably goes back as far, or maybe even before Dana (just geuessing, I dont know her complete history).

    But on the other hand, just like shamrock, she’s not the greatest fighter compared to modern competition.

    She deserves respect.

    But I cant argue that she deserves enything for free.
    Not if she is going to put TOO much effort into being a butthole.

    This is a capitolism and a sellers market.

    (I didn’t make the rules!)

    I dont see getting sponsered by ESPN giving her any special privilages, but I dont see her at least TRYING to be cool to ber a good enough excuse to dog a home compatriot.

  23. [...] close. CBS Sports is not going to look at MMA for at least a little while.”(Transcription by Fight Opinion, hat tip to Bloody [...]

  24. ive known loretta since 99 or so when she was with full contact fighter and she is a bitch straight up, trust me on that

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