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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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UFC hires Fox Sports writer alleged of fabricating quotes

By Zach Arnold | November 25, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Update: Jeremy Lynch asks a fair question.

Update II: Ben Cohen responds.

On UFC’s home page last Monday, the promotion posted an article claiming that the UFC product is ‘charming the Boxing Brits.’

The author of the article is former Fox Sports writer Ben Cohen. If you don’t recognize the name, you will after this refresher course.

Cohen had charges of fabrication leveled against him by Hywel Teague of Fighters Only Magazine and James Denton of Fighting Spirit Magazine, two of the UK’s larger fight-related publications.

What was Cohen accused of fabricating? He was accused of fabricating quotes that were attributed to Michael Bisping at the post-fight press conference at UFC 75 (where Bisping won a controversial fight by judges’ decision over Matt Hamill) in an article for the Fox Sports web site.

The quotes that were allegedly fabricated did not paint Bisping in a positive light.

Did UFC know about Cohen’s background before hiring him to write (this story) on their company web site?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 22 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

22 Responses to “UFC hires Fox Sports writer alleged of fabricating quotes”

  1. David says:

    Yes, they knew.

  2. Dr J says:

    Zach,

    When are these guys going to quit hiring these losers and offer you a job?

  3. Paul says:

    Trying to cost someone his job is low…

  4. groda says:

    making up quotes is lower

  5. chuteboxe39 says:

    im assuming this is the guy that made up all the quotes about how bisping was cussing ppl out and called one guy a fat fuck or something ?

  6. Better yet, why hasn’t Yahoo fired Iole, the biggest doofus in the world of MMA writing, and probably a vampire/necromancer.

  7. Jeremy Lynch says:

    Did the UFC hire him? Or did they pay him for this story?

    I know they have some on salary and others simply are paid for the occasional story.

  8. terrence halladay says:

    you think ufc.com is about journalistic integrity? its just the opposite man. they hire people like thomas gerbasi away from real mma journalism jobs to write ufc fluff pieces. they didn’t need to run one of this cohen guy’s articles for me to know that their web site is a joke

  9. Paul says:

    Wasn’t Bisping attacking the guy (verbal attack) at the time? I’d shit myself if a fighter was bashing me in person – I certainluy wouldn’t take the best shorthand notes that is for sure. Fighters Only can talk – that magazine is crap and Bisping himself said so on another forum. And how dare UFC promote UFC on their own website!

  10. James says:

    I was at the press conference, and Bisping was offering him out. It was pretty scary and the guy looked quite shocked after Bisping finished shouting at him. If he was taking shorthand, I can see why he fucked up.

  11. Ben Cohen says:

    Hi Zach,

    Was forwarded this link. I have in fact emailed you about this, but never got a response. I was taking shorthand notes at the press conference, and did get flustered while Bisping was shouting at me. I miss quoted him in my article, and have apologised to everyone involved (including Bisping and the UFC). My explanation was good enough for the UFC, and they have hired me to do the odd piece for them. I take my profession seriously, and have done my best to be honest about the situation. I would appreciate it if you could at least hold yourself to the same standards you are holding me to, and give my side of the story when you write your attack pieces.

    Ben Cohen

  12. Posser says:

    Owned! You are a jealous SOB, Zach! What you got to say for yourself?

  13. Fred says:

    Why are we talking about “alleged fabrications”? The press conference was recorded, and I would think that Ben Cohen’s articles on the presser are still available somewhere. Why not just put what Cohen quoted next to what Bisping actually said and let the readers decide. Either he misquoted Bisping, or he didn’t. It should be cut-and-dried. Being a couple of words off from the precise quote shouldn’t qualify as a “fabrication”.

    Without further evidence, I have the sense that someone is being nitpicky here and dogging Cohen for being off by a word or two.

  14. We had talked about this situation when it happened too:

    http://fightlinker.com/?p=603

    When you post incorrect information, the ‘people involved’ include everyone who read the article. The reason I was so pissed about this is the article was corrected, but no note was made regarding the changes. That’s not being honest about the situation … that’s trying to pretend it never happened.

    And the amount of stuff that was made up was pretty lengthy … maybe other people might buy the idea that you just got flustered but I don’t buy it. Even if you were flustered, a good reporter wouldn’t quote something they didn’t have down pact and 100% correct.

  15. Posser says:

    I think Cohen, as a writer for Boxing Monthly magazine, Fox and UFC, is closer to a “good reporter” than tossers on website hosted out of their mom’s basement…

  16. Ben Cohen says:

    To fightlinker,

    You’re totally right, and I do understand where you are coming from. The quotes were off (conducted from crappy notes and memory) and I have apologised. I emailed Fox to get them changed, but I have absolutely nothing to do with whether a note is made about the change. If I posted the article myself, I would have certainly done so. I’m not trying to hide what happened, just explain my side. Believe me, it has been a lesson about note taking and accuracy, and it won’t be a mistake I’ll make again. I can do nothing more than say I was wrong, and that I am embarrassed by the whole thing. I love the sport of MMA, and feel privileged to write about it. I also respect people for calling me out when I make mistakes like this.

    Ben Cohen

  17. There ya go, that was a good apology. You’re okay by me now, Ben. Can you hook me up with Dana White’s phone number??

  18. Christian says:

    While I appreciate your seemingly sincere apology, Ben… it is actually quite predictable that the UFC would hire a “journalist” with some questionable “ethics”.
    UFCs marketing team hasn’t been trying to educate the common fan, in fact they have kind of played up many of the mainstream stereotypes MMA has been unfairly given. I feel like if they hired a journalist with TOO MUCH integrity (a non-checkered past), they may be putting their stream of bullshit that is posted on UFC.com, in jeopardy.

  19. Christian says:

    UFC is in control of the North American MMA media, so what they say is what newer fans believe. I just hope we get accurate reports with no bias or opinion. Journalism is at an all-time low.

  20. Posser says:

    Christian, please post 10 links to UFC.com which will show me the “stream” of “bullshit” you are talking about. Bet you can’t find one article you could get a consensus on as “bullshit”, much less a “stream”

  21. Posser says:

    And another thing, Zach-of-shit, the Cohen article was posted on the UFC site on Saturday… not “last Monday”. I understand you are jealous at real writers making real money but perhaps before you throw stones at them for getting a quote wrong, you at least get the f-ing DAY right in your own hack jobs. You silly bastard.

  22. Posser says:

    All silent on the Western front I see…