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Dave Meltzer’s comments on UFC paying for media coverage

By Zach Arnold | October 30, 2008

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From this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

White also did a video blog where he revealed what in other eras would be considered a payola scandal when talking about Scott Ferrall, the Sirius satellite radio talk show host on Howard Stern’s station.

Several have asked me about the ethics of this. Every aspect of life is corrupt and stuff like this has always happened dating back to the beginning of time. In Japan when business was huge, I used to see the promotions hand out token payoffs to the key reporters.

Yes, all of us who are concerned about the idea of the media being bought and paid for in the MMA industry are stuck in the past as far as what constitutes a scandal. 🙂

Here are previous posts I’ve made on this subject:

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “Dave Meltzer’s comments on UFC paying for media coverage”

  1. MMAReporter says:

    I am a reporter who covers the UFC at live events. My company pays my way, but there is a certain amount of implied control, even over independent reporters. UFC controls the access to press credentials. It is a given that coverage they don’t like is going to provide access. So, you get the generally non-confrontational reporting and the congenial atmosphere.

  2. Matthew Watt says:

    What is up with Dave always making excuses for “questionable” business practices in mma. I do not see the Ferrall thing as highly unethical, but it definitely is in a grey area. Not something to turn a blind eye too.

    He also did this with EliteXC’s “Standgate”, making a round-about excuse for what occurred. Does Dave not see the problems with turning a blind eye to these matters? People in the media will continue to call mma “a joke”, viewers will be left disenchanted and always questioning with what they are seeing, organizations lose credibility (what little they had), etc.

    Look Dave, situations like these are called a “Pandora’s Box” for a reason. Because much like the story of Pandora, it all started as a small peek inside.

    We all know what happened next.

  3. Ron S says:

    Zach: Further on in the same paragraph he states:

    “But this is always considered unethical, and there were major federal inquiries years ago in the music industry regarding DJs and stations getting paid to play certain records in the days when most markets had the key rock station and getting a song regular airplay all but guaranteed sales of the song.”

    While not overtly condemning he, he’s clearly not endorsing it.

    You may have a different opinion that he does on how this should be reported, but I think its inappropriate to cherry pick his quotes.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    I didn’t feel that I was cherry-picking the quotes, as I tried to balance between selecting text that indicated what he appropriately felt versus copying a ton of text from his newsletter (which is a paid newsletter, thus I don’t want to use more than a certain amount of text because people should pay to read what he has to say if they want the long-form version.)

    As for whether or not Dave Meltzer is endorsing or not endorsing the actions… to me, as a writer, there are some things that are clear-cut, black-and-white. Not every issue, mind you, but certainly some that should be clear-cut… such as the issue of mafia involvement in the business, money laundering, drug usage, and buying-and-paying off the media for favorable coverage.

    If this was professional wrestling, I could understand the mentality of some gray area on these issues… but this is supposed to be a business based on real-fighting (even if you use pro-wrestling style marketing to hype it up) and supposedly legitimate thoughts from writers on events that transpire. (I don’t want to see commenters jump in again with the tired ‘there’s no journalism in MMA’ line, as I would hope someone… anyone… would aspire to higher standards than the ones currently being used.)

    For me personally, using the ‘it is what it is’ line of mentality when writing on an issue like paying off the media or fixing a fight is not acceptible. Either manipulating or fixing fights is right or wrong, it’s not “Well it happened before, so it shouldn’t be surprising.” Either paying off the media for coverage is right or wrong. It’s called taking a stance.

  5. mike says:

    Is this what this site is come to? Generating controversy and tinting coverage?

    What is off about what Dave said? Where is it construed that he didn\’t assert the unethical nature of the Ferrell story? I\’m legitimately confused. He seems to say that all of the items he lists are indeed always considered unethical and I don\’t see a lot of wiggle room for alternative interpretations.

    Is what you want is for him to take a harder and more assertive and prominent response to this item? This is a position I can understand, but it is not apparent in the initial post…

  6. Smithson says:

    Meltzer: “But this is always considered unethical,”

    That’s his bottom line take on this, but
    you left this out of your initial post. So yes, you were cherry picking.

  7. dave2 says:

    Matthew: Dave Meltzer probably doesn’t want to mess up things with Zuffa and other companies given that he needs his connections for insider news. That’s probably why he isn’t as critical of MMA business practices as Zach Arnold is (who has less to lose for criticizing Zuffa, ProElite, FEG, etc.)

  8. Alan Conceicao says:

    Could you imagine if tomorrow on ESPN, they revealed that sources had discovered clear, indisputable evidence that NBA games had been tampered with as prescribed by Tim Donaghy, then decided to follow that with, “but hey, who cares? This happens in all sports!” and proceeded to talk about it as if it was normal? ESPN would be crucified universally.

  9. skwirrl says:

    I think ZUFFA payed 45 Huddle to stay away from this comment box

  10. Chris says:

    “dave2 Says:

    Matthew: Dave Meltzer probably doesn’t want to mess up things with Zuffa and other companies given that he needs his connections for insider news. That’s probably why he isn’t as critical of MMA business practices as Zach Arnold is (who has less to lose for criticizing Zuffa, ProElite, FEG, etc.)”

    By that notion he also doesn’t want to mess up things with wrestling companies… oh wait. Aren’t journalists of his type essentially blackballed from WWE due to the large amount of criticism? Has that dried up any of his WWE sources?

  11. D.Capitated says:

    By that notion he also doesn’t want to mess up things with wrestling companies… oh wait. Aren’t journalists of his type essentially blackballed from WWE due to the large amount of criticism? Has that dried up any of his WWE sources?

    What is the key difference between the UFC and the WWE?

  12. Sonny M says:

    D.Capitated

    I’m assuming your not referring to the actual business (of real fights versus staged ones). That said, the WWE does not give Meltzer any access, they do not talk to him on record, and they would really really rather he not write about them at all.

    The UFC on the other hand, gives Meltzer alot of access, on the record, they cooperate with him, and have no issues with him, and provide him with lots of info openly.

    The WWE, fires employees on suspicion that they have communicated with Meltzer and forbids talent from talking to Meltzer (which many do anyway off the record, or on have their names witheld or choose to be anoyomous).

    Meltzer can get a press pass from the UFC and provide coverage, the WWE would hit Meltzer with a truck before inviting him to anything press related.

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  14. […] White has previously outed a Sirius Radio reporter for conduct that Dave Melzter characterized as “p… and other allegations of corruption have have long dogged the MMA […]

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