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« | Home | »

Behavior at UFC 130 exposes fault lines for sycophantic media socializing, homophobia, & sexism

By Zach Arnold | June 2, 2011

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What became a sideshow at UFC 130 this past weekend in Las Vegas has now turned into a full-blown media circus on a lot of levels. If you have not read my post on what happened in Vegas over the weekend, read it. I am referring to the two media incidents that have drawn a lot of internal fire. The first and most publicly known controversy is the interview Karyn Bryant posted online featuring Rampage Jackson flirting with her. The second controversy is drawing a lot of mockery in various quarters because an MMA writer was bragging about going to fighter after-parties after the UFC 130 event.

Both controversies are now increasing tensions amongst different constituencies.

First, let’s focus on the Karyn Bryant matter. It’s ridiculous on all levels. After the video of her interview with Rampage played on Jimmy Kimmel, it has become the talk in female journalistic circles. To try to clarify her stance on various matters related to the interview, Karyn did an interview with Steve Cofield of ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas/Cagewriter.com.

“Well, certainly I understand the point that, you know, a woman shouldn’t be put in a position to feel uncomfortable when she’s interviewing a male athlete, I totally understand. But I think we’re supposed to be allowed to set our parameters and boundaries and what those are and my comfort level might be very different from another woman. Doesn’t make me right and her wrong or vice versa. I understand that, you know, I understand when people say, hey, an athlete shouldn’t cross this line and be suggestively suggestive because the person is just trying to do their job and find out about, you know, the game or whatever. But in the case of somebody like Rampage, we all know Rampage loves to bust and do jokes and that’s why everybody lines up to interview him because everybody wants those funny, crazy sound bytes from him because people enjoy them. You know what has made that guy so popular is also, I guess, what makes him ‘dangerous’ in an interview sometimes.”

Suffice to say, this answer has not gone over well with fellow female journalists online.

“I don’t think we should all be treated so preciously. I mean, I have a couple of issues because now I feel like there’s certain, you know, female reporters who are offended by this and who completely are entitled to be so, but now it’s like there’s this unwritten rule that I was supposed to be really offended because I’m a female journalist and, you know, there’s rules and, you know, I’m not supposed to be okay with that because we women have fought real hard to get into the locker room and if you stop for a minute to be okay with that kind of joke, well, now you’re bringing us all down and I just don’t think that’s fair, you know.”

What’s interesting about this response is that Bryant & Rampage continued to… flirt?… on Twitter a few days after the interview. Karyn told Rampage that she was a married woman but that if her man would let her ‘creep’ that maybe Rampage could date her. Imagine the kind of shitstorm an ESPN female reporter would get for saying that on Twitter.

By the way, don’t think that Karyn isn’t drawing legitimate heat for the interview and the aftermath. She is and, right now, that pressure isn’t very comfortable.

“It’s really odd because… I don’t try to speak for other women and stuff like that and for fear of this being like opening the floodgates for me to just get, you know, truly assaulted in an interview, I hope that doesn’t really happen but in this case I thought it was a playful joke, he never touched me and I was okay with it.

“I thought it was funny, you know. It’s a really odd position to be in because I don’t, um, you know I don’t want to draw the fire of other female reporters because certainly some awful things have happened to them and that’s not fair and it’s not okay and by me saying this interview is okay it certainly does not condone it for everybody and every situation, but in this case… I don’t think it was a big deal.”

If you don’t believe that there is big concern that the Rampage interview re-enforced some stereotypes about whether or not women should be covering MMA (or be ‘put in their place’), well… yeah, there is growing concern.

“Certainly a lot of people say that, yeah, you know the women aren’t supposed to be there any way… I haven’t done Playboy spreads, there are no pictures of me with a tramp stamp in a bikini doing whatever, I have done nothing but act in a credible manner throughout my career and I’ve had some great jobs at some very, you know, well-respected places and so it is kind of shocking to me that some people are saying in this one fell swoop, you know, there goes all my credibility and all this stuff and I’m bringing it down and, yeah, just proving that, you know, women shouldn’t be doing this kind of thing. It’s really unbelievable to me.”

If you want an interesting side note about the Rampage interview, here’s one for you. Karyn told Steve that her husband is the one who shoots the video interviews and that if her hubby had gotten angry & stepped in to stop the interview during Rampage’s antics that she would would (figuratively-speaking) torched her man for interfering in the interview process.

I bring all of this up because there are two interesting developments tonight that I want you to read closely.

Rogan’s comments are out of line, period. What makes them stupid is that The UG is a forum that UFC has lots of sway with now. This is not some media site where the UFC can claim plausible deniability in regards to their fighters and employees posting on. Of course they post there.

Not only did Rogan make that dumb remark, but he did it against someone who works for Yahoo. Now, don’t get me wrong — Yahoo is UFC central and we know the politics. With that said, you can’t expect an outlet like that to sit idly by and eat the proverbial turd sandwich. If they do, then: a) shame on them and b) it shows how little respect they have for a female writer they employ. In either scenario, someone ends up a big loser. I would think for Yahoo’s sake, in terms of self preservation, that they will step up and defend their writer from Rogan’s dumb remark.

Ann Gaffigan of WomenSportsTalk.com reacts:

Think about the slurs that have been hurled at female journs by UFC men. If they used racial slurs as regularly would they still have jobs?

The crazy part about the Loretta video was that he made a public apology for using the anti-gay slur but not for using anti-female slurs and he was talking to a WOMAN.

When I go running & a guy yells a slur at me, I flip him off & move on. When they’re in a position of power & making a lot of $ & still allowed to act like this, there is something wrong with society.

But wait, there’s more. A lot more.

A lot of the sexist remarks made towards women in MMA is old hat. However, ‘old hat’ is not a valid excuse for the practice to continue. Banning women from Augusta National as far as reporters goes because ‘that’s the way it’s always been’ is not a valid reason. The end result is that we do have female reporters there now, albeit with some highly-publicized struggles lately.

An even older criticism of the MMA media is just how (generally) sycophantic and ass-kissing it is in nature. Yeah, well, what’s new there, right? As I’ve learned over the many, many, many years I’ve been an MMA writer, it’s never the big events that stir up controversy but always the little, goofy events that trigger long-held pent-up emotions from disgruntled writers who see just how bad the media environment looks right now.

Last weekend at UFC 130, an MMA writer wrote on Twitter about how they were going to hang out and do the party scene with fighters after the show was over. To say that this went over like a ripe fart in church would be a grand understatement. Normally, I am a very isolated person as far as talking to other MMA writers. Sure, I may be approached online with a quick comment here and there, but I do not hang out with writers. I’m not in Las Vegas. I’ve never needed to socialize or schmooze with anyone to write the articles that I write. I didn’t need to schmooze with people to cover the implosion of PRIDE from it’s yakuza scandal. I wrote the story and let the chips fall where they may. Isn’t that what writers are supposed to do? I always felt that I was in the minority in that regard. However, my mailbox and phone has been littered with messages from many media writers who are disgusted with what they see playing out and how everything has basically turned into Entertainment Tonight. Actually, that’s an insult to ET. My apologies.

Not that I’m terribly surprised or anything by these developments. I was the one who, many years ago, predicted that what we are seeing today is exactly what would happen. I was asked by one of the old-time readers on this site if the media would shift away from the lazy conference call/infotainment format and I said no, not a chance. There’s not enough money to be made being honest and until someone proves that they can do that, UFC has no one to fear. They may fear Josh Gross for scooping them on stories like Strikeforce assets getting sold to Zuffa, but not much else.

Truth be told, UFC loves the position they are in now. A niche sport that makes good money but has none of the baggage that bigger professional sports leagues have to deal with in regards to media scrutiny on many levels.

So, with the social scenesters populating the MMA media for UFC 130, it led to this discussion this past Tuesday on Bloody Elbow Radio with Matt Bishop and crew. The comments made here tie in the media writer/pool partier and the issue of women (or lack of perceived power for women) in MMA.

“Well, what gets me is that, you know, the public face of the company is Dana White and, to a lesser degree, Lorenzo Fertitta but, you know, a big majority of the staff at the UFC is women, you know? There’s women in prominent roles all over that company and… they don’t really seem to have any kind of say in matters like that. You think they would but they really don’t, it’s interesting, it’s not ran very professionally. I mean, God, you look at, just look at the reporters that are at the MMA shows and, like, look at their Twitter feeds and stuff. I mean, they talk about hanging out with the fighters and like going to pool parties and after parties. I mean, it’s amateur hour all the way around, really. I’m not sure why anybody’s surprised by that but I mean you got the people from Heavy MMA talking about how they’re bros with, like, Joseph Benavidez and like they’re going to the Team Alpha Male after-party and we’re going to live it up and it’s just like, I mean you can’t expect really good professional behavior from people who treat their job not as a job, not as something to report the facts but as a gigantic social gathering and a social party to get their names out there and have fun and get themselves over, sort of speak. It’s not about reporting on the event, it’s about like being a part of the in-crowd or, you know, being the cool kids, sort of speak. That’s what the majority of what the MMA media seems occupied with as opposed to actual reporting. I think Luke Thomas said that, too, like he went to an event recently (UFC 129). … One of the things he said was he was just taken aback by the absolute kind of party culture that surrounds MMA reporting and like he was like, you know what, I don’t care about hanging out with Urijah Faber, I don’t care about going to some after party at some hideous club, I don’t care about having my picture taken by Tracy Lee and put all over that horrible web site. All I care about is my site and hits and people reading my material, that’s what I’m interested in and that mentality is not shared by most members of the MMA media and that’s quite unfortunate.”

“Yeah, it’s… a weird little subculture that it’s evolved into and I completely with Luke, you know, I’m there to do my job, I’m there to report on the event or report on whatever is happening. I’m not there to get myself over or, you know, become a celebrity or, you know, party with the fighters or, you know, be friends with the fighters, you know. I am there to do a job and so that’s why stuff like this, you know, upsets me and then, you know, again, besides that is the whole thing with Rampage (Jackson) where it’s becoming, you know, a pattern, you know, it’s an absolute pattern at this point and… it seems like that there’s not going to be anything done about it and that to me is a huge black mark.”

“Well, what about not only the pre-fight interviews with (Ariel) Helwani which I found way over the line where he liked stepped to Ariel like he was about to hit him. The post-fight interview where, you know, without saying as much it’s basically like a 10 minute long gay joke at the expense of Ariel Helwani, you know, saying that he’s not a Alpha male and this and this and this and I think he actually said that like Ariel Helwani likes men and things like that and, you know, I’m just watching that just cringing like, ‘Wow, this is where we are, this is where we are.’ … You know, I don’t think that a beat writer for the Miami Heat is going to talk to Dirt Nowitski and have, you know, Dirk Nowitski kind of intimate that he’s gay for asking him the question about how he posted up LeBron James in the third quarter. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen but it happens in MMA and, you know, maybe it will change, maybe it will won’t, but whatever.”

“It’s low rent.”

“It’s low rent, but what are you going to do?”

The only thing you can ask for is for the spotlight to brighten. It is starting to. I would encourage MMA writers who are disgruntled about the way things are playing out to no longer be silent. Stop living in fear. You aren’t going to be treated any better by those more powerful than you because you kiss ass. If anything, you’ll be looked down upon even more.

Addendum

Rampage Jackson on Twitter talking about Maggie Hendricks:

@Jennifer_SwifT @maggiehendricks it’s ok hun no need to bash @rampage4real I am sure @KarynBryant will give you a turn. 1:59 PM Jun 1st via web

@Jennifer_SwifT nope,I bet she’s ass ugly! 3:42 PM Jun 1st via Twitter for BlackBerry® in reply to Jennifer_SwifT

Joe Rogan kinda, sorta double downs with a half-assed apology:

Never did I imagine that so many people would get their panties in a bunch about the use of the word “cunty” to describe a female blogger, but in this “gotcha” era of online “journalism” we find ourselves in any controversy that can be exploited to fill headlines and pad mandatory blog obligations will be pursued to the extreme.

My use of the word “cunty” in retrospect was unfortunate, and more of a symptom of my stand up comic vernacular than what more verbally conservative people would interpret the word as. “Cunty” is just another word for bitchy.

It means exactly the same thing to me, it’s just that “cunty” sounds better and is more fun to use.

The term “bitchy” to describe the style of the writer in question and her take on things is both accurate and appropriate.

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is fairly new, and one of the very first sports to be supported and defined by new media. We have an extraordinary amount of websites dedicated to the sport, and in the dark days of being exiled from cable television these sites (including the one I’m posting this on, mixedmartialarts.com) helped keep this sport alive.

Now that the sport is incredibly popular and thriving however, we’ve reached this saturation point where anyone with a website that writes about this sport wants to be considered a “journalist.” People that 20 years ago wouldn’t have a shot in hell at a career in writing are now demanding to be taken seriously with their snarky, poorly thought out offerings.

This sport is infested with these people, and what they’re going to have to realize is that if they want to be writers and they want their stuff to be read and ingested than they themselves must become public figures in the process, and that includes being shit on for what you put out there. The illusion of anonymity and a lack of repercussions available to the subjects of your work is a thing of the past.

Writers should expect to be openly critiqued and criticized online by anyone any everyone, because guess what – those people writing forum posts shitting on your work are just as much a legit “journalist” as any of these website people.

My apologies to Maggie Hendricks for calling her “cunty,” and I truly hope I didn’t hurt her feelings. My forum post was honest and off the cuff, and I didn’t think out the possible reactions to it. I don’t know the woman, and I’m sure she’s probably a nice person in real life, but if I have a point with any of this it’s that when you put negative shit out there in the form of bitchy blog posts, that shit is going to come right back at you, and you better not be surprised.

Naturally, the online forum reaction to this is to continue to attack Maggie Hendricks and defend Rogan’s comments. Ironic that he would use the term he did since his online following resembles that of a sausage party.

A veteran commenter from our site (I’ll let him identify himself if he wants to here) posted this on the UG:

My band was playing a show in LA a couple months back and I called someone in the crowd a “pussy” as a joke and some girl hit me up after the show saying she was offended as a woman. I was pretty flabbergasted and my girlfriend was right there with me. No words are safe anymore…people need to lighten up. And I’m not some brash dude who says f—– and b—- on stage….I’m pretty careful with my words. I was legitimately surprised that pussy is on some people’s no no list now.

Cunty is a great word, btw.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 53 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

53 Responses to “Behavior at UFC 130 exposes fault lines for sycophantic media socializing, homophobia, & sexism”

  1. RossenSearchTeam says:

    I’ve never heard of Karen Bryant before this ‘incedent”.

    I think they might deserve each other.

    As far as “sexist” remarks…

    When this becomes an “equal opportunity” sport then resign any claim to the best of the best.

    Just call it comforting entertainment.

  2. Hywel says:

    Great post Zach. Lot of bullying in the MMA world, at all levels. I’m only doing occasional work now for a few outlets. Ironically, I’m not going to say much more as there are many potential pitfalls in this game, none more so than pissing the wrong people off online.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      If I’m still around and a force, so can you. Don’t fear the politicians in this line of work!

  3. Vic Mackey says:

    I can only hope this article makes its way to the UG.

  4. King Famous says:

    This continues to be the only site that matters when it comes to MMA.

    I was cringing at Rampages interviews too. This is nothing new when it comes to Rampage.

    And it is nothing new for people want to feel like they belong at the expense of being marks.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Great post Zach, but it has absolutely nothing to offer because the last line of your final quote says it all:

    “It’s low rent, but what are you going to do?”

    There’s nothing you can do. You are either with the UFC, or not with the UFC, and thus not a part of this sport. The UFC is going to catch ZERO flack for anything that happens/

    Period.

    Deal with it or stop watching, the UFC really doesn’t care either way. People need to realize that the UFC is the sport of MMA, and EVERYTHING ELSE DOES NOT MATTER!!!!!!!!!

    I do not know how much louder I can scream it from the rooftop…if it is not the UFC and does not come from the UFC…then it does not matter. This goes for all of the non-UFC websites, any dirt that they might dig up, any controversies, drugging/doping allegations….and it also goes for all of those fights that go on outside of the UFC….I am reading here on the sidebar of your site that “Joseph Duffy Headlines Cages Warriors FCs Return to Ireland”…does not matter because it is not the UFC. Everything in the Japan, Brazil, Europe…does not matter unless it is the UFC.

    The UFC is the sport, is the only thing that matters, and is 100% Super-Teflon coated. Everyone else…your website, all of the websites, all of us posters…everyone…are just white noise that no one hears or cares about in the big picture of things.

    Again, this is not to flame you Zach..it was a great article, but it is not going to do a damn thing…because there is nothing that can done that the UFC does not want to happen.

  6. Rob Maysey says:

    Responsibility.

    In ALL of the media examples given, the “victim” said nothing about the act. Loretta, when interviewed by ESPN, said, “I like Dana!”

    Bryant joked with Rampage suggesting that if her husband let’s her “creep” for side action, she’ll give him a call.

    Professional?

    If the subjects have nothing to say on the examples, why should anyone else?

    • Chuck says:

      Fear. Fear of being castigated by peers and fans. Fear of being victim blamed (think of people bashing rape victims, going “well, she WAS wearing a very short skirt, etc”). Fear of not being allowed back to do more interviewing. Fear of any sort of other backlash, or being black listed.

      There are quite a few reasons why rape and sexual assault are the biggest under-reported crimes. I outlined them above.

      And no, I am NOT calling what happened to Karyn Bryant rape, but the parallels are very similar. And you would be a fool not to see that.

      • Rob Maysey says:

        You are a professional journalist, or you are not. I don’t see the parallels.

        You are for sale, and will compromise not only your coverage, but your professional values, or you will not. If you do these things, you aren’t really a journalist at all.

        If you are, you have a responsibility. The acquiescence and participation in these behaviors not only compromises journalistic integrity, it directly HARMS those who legitimately try to do the job correctly.

        If you aren’t part of that solution as a journalist, you are not a journalist at all and are part of the problem.

  7. flip says:

    I mean you know like I mean you know you know like I mean

  8. Jeff says:

    Good work Zach.

  9. Katrina says:

    Good article, as always Zach!

    I also reported on this issue, and was appalled at many of the comments my male readers left. One of the female responders said it quite well: “You just don’t get it. Just because Karyn didn’t take anything seriously and it was all fun and games (she probably knows Jackson anyway)….that is not the point. The point is the behavior period. Because you and the good old boys and a few women think it’s funny and no big deal. It IS a big deal because nobody ever does speak up about it. Some women like that sort of attention and thrive on in especially coming from a “celebrity”. Whether it’s words and/or physical contact…in MMA, the military, construction workers, cops, other sports venues, white collar, doctors and lawyers, etc…crap like that goes on. It’s NOT funny. Joking around is one thing, but when it gets disrespectful and nasty, Nobody should have to put up with it.”

    I’m sure Karyn is a great gal; but that type of behavior was not professional from Rampage, and she should have put the brakes on. For example, in this video w/Arianny (@ around 2:30 and 4:00), he is verbally suggestive, but she immediately puts him in his place…more than once. And she’s not a supposed journalist – she’s a ring girl! http://youtu.be/YJcB03MTroE

    It’s just wrong to allow this type of behavior. If it was just an isolated incident, that might be one thing…but it’s not. Additionally, this stuff rolls from the top; Dana, Rogan, Rampage, etc. If they are the examples to young men 18-35, we’re in trouble.

    Oh – and to put it in perspective, to a woman, the “c” word is extremely offensive, and Rogan knows it…it is akin to the “n” word for a black person; or the “c” word to a Chinese person or the “w” word to an Italian…etc.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “Oh – and to put it in perspective, to a woman, the “c” word is extremely offensive, and Rogan knows it…it is akin to the “n” word for a black person”

      Katrina, your sense of perspective is completely ludicrous. Calling a woman a c*nt is nothing like calling a black person a n****r. There is a monumental difference.

      • Mark says:

        Yes and no. Yes for the fact that the N-word would get the biggest reaction if you yelled it in a crowded room. If you yelled the C-word, people would just comment it was vulgar. If you yelled the F-word (the other f-word) the reaction would depend on what type of people were in the room. But if you yelled the N-word, everyone would have a shocked reaction and be more outraged than in the other situations.

        But the boss of a company using it, any of the three is a huge deal. When you get power, you are expected to carry yourself in a different way. I know we all like to think of Dana as down-to-earth (?) and one-of-the-boys he so badly wants to be. But imagine the head of any other sporting organization going on the same tirade. They would have been forced out within a week. But a combination of people just being used to enabling “Dana being Dana”, and that unlike any other sports leader he is held up as the guru of the sport that made it and nobody knows what would happen if he ever left, so they can’t risk it the same way nobody would give a crap if David Stern or Bud Sellig left their sports. Regardless that the N-word has a far darker history than the other two words, all three are still intended to dehumanize the group of people they’re aimed at. And people in power cannot do that.

        I’m not saying he should have been forced out, because I don’t think he should have. But his different level of importance to his field of work is the only reason he wasn’t.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I assume the whole portion on Dana is with respect to the f-word usage in connection with the Hunt debacle? B/c Rogan was the one dropping c*nt and b*tch on Hendricks.

        • Mark says:

          Yeah, my point was it all goes back to Dana and it would be absurd for Rogan to have anything happen to him when Dana used several slurs to smacktalk a female writer and kept his job.

      • Katrina says:

        Yes it is. You obviously aren’t a women Steve4192.

    • Jason Harris says:

      “but that type of behavior was not professional from Rampage, and she should have put the brakes on.”

      So why is it required that this person respond the way you personally would have responded?

      Taking away someone’s identity or right to choose how they want to act in a situation is just as sexist as anything else anyone is complaining about here.

      “Sure, she said she was fine, but as a woman her sex dictates she should have responded in xyz manner!”

      • Katrina says:

        It has nothing to do with the way I would have responded; truth is, I would have slapped him.

        It has to do with respect, self-respect, and professionalism. If she’s a pro, she should act like one. She didn’t.

  10. Rob Maysey says:

    “I’m sure Karyn is a great gal; but that type of behavior was not professional from Rampage, and she should have put the brakes on. For example, in this video w/Arianny (@ around 2:30 and 4:00), he is verbally suggestive, but she immediately puts him in his place…more than once. And she’s not a supposed journalist – she’s a ring girl! http://youtu.be/YJcB03MTroE

    Exactly.

    But they don’t. Over and over and over. Its all fun and games, until it isn’t funny anymore.

    With the largest of platforms, poor behavior is just excused and joked away. Given time, those who excuse it away end up on the other side of the table, and only then want to raise the issue.

    Too little too late.

    Take responsibility. A few do–but its always the same few.

  11. Dave says:

    I give mad props to the BloodyElbow dudes for calling out that crappy behavior. I feel like some of us have been kind of public about how dumb it is for a while now and what’s funny is that it is always chalked up to “jealousy.”

    If you want to chill with fighters and be tight with them, get into public relations or management. If you want to be a reporter be a fucking reporter. Do you really think if someone from ESPN was sent to cover a football game, spent time with the losing team before the game interviewing them and hyping them up, then went to the winning team’s afterparty and publicly was talking about how awesome the party is and how cool it is to be partying with the winners that this would be acceptable?

    There is a joke in there, trust me.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “I give mad props to the BloodyElbow dudes for calling out that crappy behavior.”

      Agreed.

      However, it is hard to take them seriously on their misogyny rants when so much of their site is dedicated to cheesecake photos/videos of ring girls, celebs, and attractive female fighters. This is doubly true for Cage Potato, who has an entire section of their site dedicated to ogling ring girls.

      In regards to their journalistic ethics/behavior posts, while I agree with them wholeheartedly, one thing about it that does not sit well with me is that many of the BloodyElbow writers will play the journalist/blogger game when confronted on similar issues. They want to tackle journalistic issues and take others to task for their actions, but fall back on the “I’m just a blogger” excuse whenever the light is shined on them.

      They also love to play the “This is a business and traffic drives revenue” card when called out for some of their own unsavory practices. The most recent example being their embrace of the secondary ticket market as a way to drive revenue, even though they have spent years railing against Zuffa for doing the same thing.

      I enjoy reading/commenting on BloodyElbow, but sometimes their hypocrisy astounds me.

      • Jason Harris says:

        “I enjoy reading/commenting on BloodyElbow, but sometimes their hypocrisy astounds me.”

        I used to be a fan, but they really took the “write tabloid posts for hits” thing to the extreme to where the noise drowned out the good stuff. I also just realized that I was more a fan of the SBNation commenting system than the site itself.

        • Dave says:

          I think the thing is, you have to look at the site’s format, a long hard look. It is basically a message board where only a select few people (a crew that seems to rotate heavily) are allowed to start topics and you have a cast and crew of commenters who make the same jokes on every topic.

      • Mark says:

        You can only assume the people exhibiting this type of behavior were playing for the stereotypical MMA fan. The type of stereotypical fan MMA attracts (ie, the same stereotypical type of fan pro wrestling, heavy metal bands and gangsta rappers were labeled with having. And much like UFC, complained that they were being held back in getting mainstream credibility because of them.) The sexually frustrated meatheads, eternally locked in their Madonna-Whore complexes (shown with this “Well, you show pictures of ring girls looking sexy so you’re a hypocrite being mad about sexual harassment!” idiocy online) eat this stuff up. Because they’re locked in their teenage-mindset, perma-rages at everything in life and get off on “rebels” doing wild things in the media so they can live vicariously through them. So needless to say it probably won’t ever effect business. But what it will do is stop MMA from growing past where they are right now. You can’t sit on your computer and complain that UFC has only be able to get to a certain point and not taken as seriously as ball sports just because old people who don’t “get it” run the media, and then act like people would be over reacting to situations like this.

        Regardless that she didn’t mind it and that nobody is going to notice this, the fact that Rampage freely did it without thinking twice, whereas most other professional athletes would after the NBA went through the “Gold Club” trial and the NFL had players exposing themselves to female reporters and both cracked down on player behavior, is pretty jarring. And he has a history of it dating back to PRIDE where he’d harass Japanese women and try to get them to say obscene things in English that they didn’t understand on video. I like the guy, I’m not saying he has to turn into Cro Cop 24/7. But the fact that for the 5 years Jackson has been employed somebody didn’t say “Reel in your sex drive while you’re promoting us, or we’ll have problems”, which is totally different than if you told him in his private life he couldn’t goof around with women, speaks volumes. They don’t have the maturity to grow as large as they claim they will. And they have to make a choice at this point in their history: do they want to continue being a giant frathouse and not get taken seriously by the mainstream media, or do they want to act like a real sports organization and demand when employees are in the public doing anything relating to promoting the UFC (and this includes internet statements), they must act professional. But I think it is pretty clear which path they’re going to take.

        And I was trying to think back to make a WWE comparison, but you know what? Vince fines his employees for behavior like this. He’ll tolerate drug use, but knows PR disasters are even worse and won’t put up with his guys using slurs on Twitter or acting like jerks to reporters. So really, Dana is below Vince right now. How low is that?

  12. Salty Dog says:

    Awesome job, Zach. You’re tops, man.

    Regarding Rampage, everyone’s been served notice. If he crosses the line and beyond in the future, the UFC and others will have mud on their hands. For that reason, they need to do something with him — issue a warning, whatever.

  13. Thanks for writing this, Zach.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Now has anyone thought of this…

    Perhaps Mrs. Bryant was offended by it, but held her tongue because she does not want to risk losing access to the UFC the way another female reporter has. I mean, just imagine if she had made a big stink about it…and I could here Dana White saying this (and so could you)…

    “She has a problem with the way our fucking fighters do interviews? Fine…then I’ll fix it for her so that it does not happen again!”

    And just like that…Karyn Bryant is out of the MMA reporting business. You guys have to admit that this is a VERY plausible scenario given how brash Dana White is and how the media is treated in general by the UFC. I don’t like it, but that is the way that it is.

    This is the UFC’s world and everyone has to play by their rules and make them happy. Karyn Bryant fully realizes that so she is not going to make any waves.

    • Steve4192 says:

      I seriously doubt that.

      Karyn has always has a fun/playful interviewing style. Hell, she once concluded an interview with Vladdy Matsyushenko by downing Vodka shots with him. I think she is being genuine when she says Rampage did not offend her and that it was all in good fun.

      Read her followup tweets after this became a ‘controversy’ and she was still being playful. If she were offended and was covering up to protect her access, one would expect a more reserved response than offering to ‘creep’ with Rampage pending her husband’s approval. If she really was upset and is hiding it, she is a damn good actress.

      • Jonathan says:

        I totally agree with you Steve4192…I was just proposing what might have happened had she spoken up or made a big deal herself about it.

    • Katrina says:

      YES – that’s a very real scenario. Another female reporter was pretty much blackballed from UFC events because of a similar situation (can’t remember her name offhand), and so I’m not surprised Karyn is defending her non-actions just for that reason.

      Also, read here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jimmy_traina/07/09/heather.nicholes-not-happy-with-rampage-jackson/index.html

      It’s a very real issue. For some reason, most men just don’t get it.

  15. The Gaijin says:

    “Last weekend at UFC 130, an MMA writer wrote on Twitter about how they were going to hang out and do the party scene with fighters after the show was over.”

    Forgive my ignorance, but whom might this cling-on/luggage carrier be?

    • Tomasz Michelszewski says:

      Yes. Who is it. You call everyone else out. Reference everything else with links yet keep this purposefully vague. It bullshit. Either tell us who or don’t include it. We arent in your circle so we wouldn’t have misses the omission.

      But we want to know now.

  16. sammy says:

    Newsflash:

    If you want political correctness…then go to a politically correct sport.

    MMA is the most politically incorrect sport in the world…along with boxing.

    Boxing has been around for 100+ years and it is still largely unaccepted by mainstream society. Fighting is unnacceptable to society and never will be. And MMA is even worse than boxing because its even more like streetfighting. In boxing you still hear racial comments, homophobic comments, etc.

    I know you all want MMA to be a mainstream, socially accepted sport, but the fact of the matter is it never will be. Even if it garners even more fans and popularity, it will still be fighting, and will never be politically correct.

    If you want a PC sport, go watch golf.

    • Katrina says:

      Let me state this again: this is NOT about political correctness. Nor is it about free speech. It’s about respect, professionalism and sexual harassment.

  17. Jason Harris says:

    - The MMA Media…

    Yep, it mostly sucks. But the ass-kissing thing seems to be sour grapes thrown around by the much MUCH larger faction of websites who “make a name” for themselves by acting like a tabloid and manufacturing outrage. Especially when it’s coming from BloodyElbow, which is basically a site that aggregates other news and writes tabloid “editorials” to draw traffic to the site. They make their living insulting fighters and the brass of MMA orgs everywhere, then are grumpy that other sites are getting access to parties? Ok.

    I think it’s a much bigger problem that there’s this “I’m a blogger, let’s write hit pieces for traffic” mentality than people from a funny videos website going to an MMA afterparty.

    - Rampage…

    He’s an asshole. Always has been. It’s his thing. Not specifically to women or this one woman, but to everyone. It’s funny that people seem to think that his antics are harming the sports chances of being more “mainstream”, since he’s one of the most “mainstream” popular fighters there is as a direct result of these antics.

    - Joe Rogan

    Stand up comedian says dirty word. And? Especially funny seeing CagePotato (the “we pissed off the UFC by posting nude photos of Arianny” site) getting outraged on behalf of all women. Even funnier that the next post on their site is basically “Check out Tito Ortiz’ dick, you guys!”

    There seems to be this notion going around that any website that isn’t raging against the UFC is somehow in their pocket or afraid of them…or perhaps these faux controversies really don’t matter outside of the websites that are trumping them up to drive traffic to their sites and line their own pockets?

    • Mark says:

      It’s funny that people seem to think that his antics are harming the sports chances of being more “mainstream”, since he’s one of the most “mainstream” popular fighters there is as a direct result of these antics.

      There’s the “mainstream” where UFC is at, and “mainstream” level where they claim they want to be at, as being seen as equals to the NFL, NBA and MLB. So when was the last time you remember a ballsports player acting like Rampage and getting away with it?

      Remember last year there was a huge deal over the New York Jets catcalling at a Mexican reporter at their practice, and the NFL, knowing it could anger people, cracked down on them way more than they should have. And that was less than what Jackson has gotten away with doing for years.

      So it’s not a big deal if you’d be happy knowing you’re at the peak of your business right now, where UFC 100 and the Toronto live gate are as good as you’d ever do. But it is a big deal if you’re serious about getting even bigger.

      • Jason Harris says:

        That goal is often mentioned but the thing a lot of people fail to realize is that UFC does not intend to get bigger than NFL etc. by becoming those sports. In fact, when you read the interviews where those comments tend to be made, Dana White elaborates and talks about how MMA has a more universal appeal than American football and that they’ll spread worldwide and be bigger than these other sports.

        The point being, I doubt UFC plans to acheive their growth goals by watering everything down to it’s most PC factor to get a huge US audience. Nevermind that if I go to a bar showing the next UFC event and ask every person there what they think of Joe Rogan making an asshole remark on an internet forum, not a single person will know wtf I’m talking about. This stuff doesn’t even move the needle outside of the small niche of people (like me) who obsess over MMA.

        Rampage acting the way he acts got him a large role in a summer blockbuster last year, and he’s popping up on late night talk shows on network TV….sounds like he’s doing just fine, and how much more mainstream can that get? Hell, the guy was on Doctor Phil.

        I don’t particularly like the way Rampage carries himself (in or out of the ring) and I think he stopped being funny around the end of his PRIDE years. But this faux-outrage about Rampage somehow setting the sport back is completely manufactured by a bunch of bloggers looking for traffic.

        Do I see a football player getting away with acting this way? No, and I don’t see them getting away with hitting each other in the face, either. They’re different sports. Actors and musicians and other celebrities do goofier shit than Rampage in interviews all the time and nobody gives a damn, and it doesn’t stop them from becoming “mainstream” popular. Take a look at Charlie Sheen.

        My point is, if Rampage offends you? Definitely your right. He annoys me, and I don’t watch his interviews as a result. I don’t like watching him fight much, either, so I don’t go out of my way to watch that. But I don’t pretend that because I don’t like something the guy does that somehow the whole sport of MMA is being set back. It’s not.

      • cutch says:

        Mike Tyson (during his fight career anyway) was written about more than any other sports man that I ever recall, certainly his private life for more than 20 years. So I would call him mainstream

        Rampage is a saint in comparison, ball sports and combat sports are completely different, Tyson would have been banned for life after the things he did if he competed in a team sport, no matter how good or popular he was.

        The UFC will never become as popular as the NFL even if they did get a network tv deal but they might manage to get big ratings from time to time and UFC/MMA like Boxing will always keep their top draws for pay per view because they will make much more money there.

        • Mark says:

          No, the UFC wants to be bigger than they are. Their goal is to have fighters famous enough that even non-fans know who they are and to hopefully get TV commercial endorsements. What UFC fighter would be spotted walking down the street by a grandma who had no interest in MMA because they were such a huge star like other sports stars? Maybe Lesnar.

          And as for the Tyson comparison, yes he was a enormous mainstream star. But you do realize 98% of all of his media coverage from after the Robin Givens interview with Barbara Walters until he rehabilitated his career with the Hangover cameo was incredibly negative, right? If you’re too young to remember, Mike Tyson was looked at as a ticking timebomb that finally went off when he got arrested for rape by the media after the Michael Spinks fight, which was the peak of his career as a respected athlete. All publicity isn’t good publicity. If a UFC fighter ever gets pegged as the new post-1987 Mike Tyson, that would be terrible for the sport. And you can’t compare him to Rampage. Tyson crashing his car into a tree to kill himself was front page news. Rampage’s monster truck incident was not a huge news story.

          And who said anything about them having to water down. Is it so much to ask that your fighters act like civilized human beings in public when they are working for you? They don’t have to all become stoic emotionless robots, but it’s not asking much that they not say offensive words or sexually harrass women on the job. If Rampage wants to do stuff like that in his free time, I couldn’t care less, people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it is legal in their freetime. But he was at a UFC event, and that is the problem. If you’re at a UFC event, doing an interview promoting UFC, or speaking on the UFC online you need to act professional. That’s not going to kill their souls or anything, come on.

          That asking guys to be professional on duty is seen as something bad by people here speaks volumes about where the sport is at.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    Speaking of Rampage….

    Jon Jones is saying that the bout with Rampage is a go. Couldn’t release the date yet.

    One could say that Rampage got lucky with this title shot. That he didn’t beat Machida. And then the timing meant that Evans couldn’t fight.

    I really don’t care too much. I like the timing of this better. Jones should beat up Rampage badly, which is something I really want to see. And Machida will still be there to challenge for the belt. And Evans or Davis too.

    It will be interesting to see if Jones can beat all of the former champions in the division.

  19. edub says:

    I honestly don’t have a side in this. I see both sides of the argument, but i don’t think people on each side see the other’s position (if that makes sense).

    Just one question I will put out there: If the majority of people (both intelligent and the not) side with Rogan’s, Karyn’s, and others view on the subject; should they have to change their way of thinking just to accommodate the minority?

  20. klown says:

    Props Zach, as always.

  21. Frank Parker says:

    If anything, I hope this controversy should end the idea that Yahoo writers are in Zuffa’s pockets.

    It’s been a joke given Meltzer criticizes White all the time but does so in a professional manner.

    And Iole and Meltzer were the two mainstream reporters who were first on this story.

  22. Black Dog says:

    This is nothing new in sports journalism, unfurtunately. I don’t see any of it changing in the coming years.

    Rampage may have been flirting, he may have been joking around, but he’s no rookie with reporters. He was out of line. As for Karyn Bryant, I have no idea who she is; she had to make her own decision as to whether to continue the interview of break it off.

    The tweeting between her and Ramage? Are we so sure it was those two, and that these are not a bunch of faked conversations?

    As for Joe Rogan, he is a piece of garbage, and a nuthugger for Dana White and UFC. He nuthugs because he knows he will NEVER make the money that top-line comedians do.

    He must believe that because he fellates Dana and UFC 24.7 that he’s safe. And he probably is.

    As for Yahoo! reporters? Sorry, but Kevin Iole may not be under the table paid by UFC, but he is a nuthugger, just like 45…who, notice does not say WORD ONE about the story at hand, but conveniently pretends this isn’t what we’re talking about and gives us his pick on the Jones fight.

    Stay classy, Rampage, Rogan and 45…

    • Steve4192 says:

      Three ‘nuthuggers’ and one reference to fellatio in the same post?

      I guess Sherdog has arrived at Fight Opinion.

      • Alexander Mogue says:

        Because one person said something ludicrous. Stop overracting.

      • Black Dog says:

        Well, Steve I suppose I could have done a little better and used some different adjectives, but aught else is understood here by most people.

        I hope you did take note of the top part of my initial comment here; it stands to reason that not much is going to come out of any of this. We’ve seen White’s one-sentence unapology to the woman Rogan trashed.

        As I say, Rogan is going to behave this way because White lets him and probably encourages him to act like that.

        As for Iole, I don’t trust him; by the way, I don’t have any connection to Sherdog.

  23. Karyn Bryant says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I thought maybe I should say a thing or two in response to the assumptions being made about me. I’m not going to post my entire resume, but you should know that I’ve hosted shows since the 90’s after graduating from Brown University with a double major. I am not stupid, nor am I a beginner. But I do have a sense of humor and find it a bit upsetting that I’m apparently not allowed to. NEVER did I say what Quinton did was correct behavior: I just said I wasn’t offended. I also said that I don’t speak for all women.

    For those who say I have no self respect based on my response in the interview and/or my tweets: you don’t know me at all. And the fact that you are defining my entire character based on a couple of tweets (!) and the opinions of others is just silly.

    Sycophant? I don’t think I am, but I do admit to being a fan of the sport and someone who genuinely LIKES the athletes involved. If I’m so unprofessional, why am I the ONLY American journalist to learn Portuguese so that I could better interview my subjects?

    Perhaps I have been too dismissive of the criticism, and maybe I did take it too lightly. But it’s only because I never imagined the Rampage interview would be interpreted the way it has been. I figured people would see it for what it was to me- a funny verbal exchange between two people who know each other. (Remember- he didn’t ACTUALLY touch me other than a hug.)

    Also, for those asking, part of the reason we are credentialed is because we have a half-hour show that airs 6x/week on MAVTV. That network is available in 37 million homes.

    Thanks,
    Karyn

  24. [...] bother Bryant (or her husband who shot the video), but several MMA media folks including Zach Arnold and the Bloody Elbow crew jumped all over Rampage and the UFC for Rampage’s continued [...]

  25. Tomasz Michelszewski says:

    Who is the tweeting journalist?

    Can’t find any tweets about Faber, alpha male, pool parties or any reporter talking about any of this. You cNt bring up such a detail and give no names. You gave all names about every other topic and copied Rogan’s UG post but are keeping this journalist unnamed?

    Who was it or what outlet?

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