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Sports media focus increasing on mess involving UFC, Rampage Jackson, Joe Rogan, Karyn Bryant

By Zach Arnold | June 4, 2011

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When I posted our now very popular column on Thursday night concerning the multiple media messes happening that were soon converging into one large, broad narrative, I knew that there would be plenty of people not happy with the article. With that said, it was an article that absolutely needed to be written just to get quotes & statements on the record and to try to explain to casual online MMA fans what is exactly going on with various media brush fires that seem to be spreading quickly into bigger venues.

The focus of our column was on the blowback that the UFC, Rampage Jackson, and Karyn Bryant were receiving from both fans & media online for the video interview Bryant did at UFC 130 last Saturday night. In addition to how that whole situation played out, I also noted the situation involving ass-kissing MMA writers worried more about being social scenesters & keeping their media credentials with the UFC than actually telling the truth. Little did I realize that the two separate storylines would some how end up merging together in the Rampage/Bryant controversy.

After I published my article on the matter here, Kevin Iole was busy putting the final touches on his Yahoo column about yet another media controversy involving one of the faces of the UFC (Joe Rogan) and a Yahoo MMA female writer (Maggie Hendricks). I updated my article in full to cover that mess and Joe Rogan’s pathetic backhanded late night apology on Thursday.

Kevin’s column on everything that has been going on this past week was posted online. It’s an excellent read and whether you agree with the article’s theme or not, it was a good column that touched upon a lot of themes. The Karyn Bryant video interview with Rampage Jackson was embarrassing enough on its own. However, what she, Rampage, and UFC could have never imagined is that multiple media messes would end up converging into one huge public relations nightmare for all parties involved.

After my column and Kevin’s column were published, suddenly there was a public rise in commentary from general sports media about what has been taking place this last week. I noted that the Karyn Bryant situation was the topic that a lot of people focused on women’s journalism in sports were paying attention to. The heat, no pun intended, was justifiably growing on Bryant and her actions during the Rampage interview. Once our column and Kevin’s column hit online Friday afternoon, all bets were off. Dan Wetzel, a fellow Yahoo writer who is a huge supporter of the UFC, backed Kevin’s column 100%. Larry Brown, a veteran online general sports media writer with a respectable following, chimed in with his own column blasting the UFC, Rampage, and Bryant for their actions.

While my focus wasn’t necessarily on blaming Rampage in my article, I was making a larger point about the complete lack of credibility in various MMA media circles. Kevin’s article advanced the story in one direction by focusing on the history of how UFC management has treated women in the past. Larry’s article takes it one step further and brings up the issue of media credentials and asks just how much certain writers have to tolerate in terms of abusive behavior in order to keep their credentials.

In our Thursday column, I closed it out by saying that the only way behavior will change in terms of UFC & fighter relations with the media is if the spotlight shines brightly from the broader sports media. That’s exactly what is starting to take place. All these media messes (the Rampage/Bryant interview, Joe Rogan using the word ‘cunty’ to talk about Maggie Hendricks, an MMA writer acting as social scenester at the clubs & fighter after-parties) are now starting to get scrutinized. Like shining the right light on a cock roach, we are starting to see some people back off and try to flee away from the image damage. In other cases, we’re seeing people who think they are trying to defend the ‘honor’ of current media behavior by acting in the nastiest & vile manner possible online. The message board types may be in the minority, but they are doing their best to shut down anyone who dare speaks up about wanting to clean up the current media landscape.

I can tell you that the reaction I’ve gotten from many people is largely positive but… there have been plenty of mockingly negative messages that I can only describe as bizarre. I’ve had people accuse me of wanting to try to bring down UFC like “you brought down PRIDE” and I’ve had crazier notes from people who should know better that somehow I am defending Zuffa and acting as their mouthpiece. None of it makes sense. Emotions are running high.

Fueling the increasing interest from the general sports media on what’s happening

While the various articles published on the subject matter have increased attention, a key component to the attention getting increased has been the nasty, trollish, boorish responses on various MMA sites & message boards (the usual suspects). These responses are getting read by some high-profile sports writers and it has raised their disgust level to a new high.

It’s not just the message boards, either. It’s MMA radio shows. Take for example this Karyn Bryant interview on Tapout Radio this past Thursday with Evan Shoman of Shomanart drawings fame.

Instead of suffocating the oxygen that is fueling the interest in this story, Bryant’s comments are just adding more fuel to the fire.

“Listen, you know, it’s the weirdest thing. I did this fun interview with Rampage (Jackson). At the end of it, he starts goofing with me, pretends to motorboat me, never actually touches me. We goof a little, he warns me that I should leave because he’s known for humping people in interviews and that I should get away before he does it to me, I laugh, I leave. The next thing you know, it’s a big deal because apparently by the female-journalist-in-sports rule book, I’m supposed to have been offended and the fact that I wasn’t is giving some people a hard time. It’s giving a lot of MMA fans a great time because they think it’s hilarious like I did but it’s definitely rubbing some people the wrong way that I wasn’t bothered by it. And I said to people, too, that really the truth of the matter is that it’s for instances like this and for interviews like this that there is a line of interviews like this that there is a line of people trying to interview Rampage. He’s funny. He has that, like, X-Factor of ‘you don’t know what’s going to happen.’ That’s why everybody likes to talk to him. So then you can’t really sit there and give the guy too hard a time for being who he is, you know what I mean? Like… I understand that it’s, you know, in a lot of instances in other sports people say, ‘Oh, if this happened in MLB’ or ‘if this had happened somewhere else there would have been the league would have come down on him in fines and this and that.’ Well, isn’t it still incumbent upon the women, the ‘victim,’ to press the charge or have the problem? I didn’t have a problem. Why is that a problem?”

What makes her comments and the comments of people who think they are somehow defending the sport of MMA so stupid is the complete lack of self-awareness. People who generally end up getting burned by scandals don’t have enough self-awareness to see what is coming, why their actions draw negative emotions from others, and how to effectively respond when accountability is needed.

Take note of her line about behavior in MLB and other sports. There’s a reason why those sports are not niche sports. Remember, Dana White professes that MMA ‘is the fastest growing sport in the world.’ If that’s the case, then the current behavior on display from the likes of Bryant, Rampage, & Rogan isn’t going to exactly win new fans over who will be turned off by such commentary. MMA is a sport that’s not for everybody, anyways, and so if you’re gung ho about increasing the fan base then you need to act professionally.

Especially in light of a lot of politicians watching the current scene and looking to take any controversy to blow it up. Like in New York.

That’s the contextual set-up for this passage between Bryant & Shoman on the Thursday interview.

EVAN SHOMAN: “If this had happened in any other sport… What? In any other sport… when does the President of (other sports) use, call people f—–s? You know?”

KARYN BRYANT: “Exactly! Exactly.”

EVAN SHOMAN: “It’s just a little different, you know?”

KARYN BRYANT: “But I get it but that’s also, the fact that it is different I guess is what, another thing that some people are having a hard time with like, hey, how do we expect MMA to get taken seriously when fighters act like this, when journalists are okay with this, you know so that’s certainly the beef that some people have and I see where they’re coming from.”

EVAN SHOMAN: “No, I disagree. You know why? Let me tell you why. Because the people that are saying that are people that are on forums who, in my opinion, they are the people that are making this sport not evolve. Not the fighters, not Paul Daley hitting someone after the bell, the people that have something to say about everything and nothing is positive and then they have to go, ‘Well, now we’re set back.’ No, you’re not set back, all right? It’s all of these friggin, it’s the haters! It’s the haters! You know what? A lot of them just go on there to hate everything.”

The utter cluelessness in logic on display here is staggering, especially from people who should absolutely know better. It’s a perfect display of the rabid illogical boilerplate remarks used in an argument whenever someone brings up a valid point.

Of course, that template makes no sense in regards to who is speaking out on this manner. It is respected writers who have extensive knowledge of the fight business that are speaking out. It is general sports media that is starting to take a close look at matters. You can question their motives but for many sports writers, they have only heard about some of the nightmarish stories from MMA writers before but never really have taken them seriously. Now there’s evidence in front of their face about what is going on and it’s naturally going to draw reaction.

Back to Karyn Bryant’s Thursday appearance on Tapout Radio. She continued to be defiant in response to criticism coming her way from various journalistic circles.

“There’s some ‘journalists’ who may or may not have used to be involved in MMA or whatever who are trying to pick fights with me and saying that I’m, you know, disgraceful and embarrassing and, you know, this and that. It’s like, well… I don’t think so. Look at my resume, my education, and I think I’m pretty darn credible. I don’t think total idiots usually work on CNN and stuff, you know, (such as the) jobs that I’ve had in the past. I think I’ve pretty much proved that I know what I’m doing a little bit and… you know, it’s just shocking to me. The unfortunate thing, I guess, is that for some people this is the first thing they’ve ever seen of my work.

“They don’t know that when you go to MMAHeat.com or my Youtube, there’s like literally 300 interviews of fighters and we’ve been doing half-hour shows since September and I’ve been doing all this stuff, I worked with CBS, Showtime, all this stuff, like I actually think I know a little bit about it, I’m not a total moron, you know.”

The irony of this quote, of course, is that CNN currently employs someone with a reputation of boorish behavior named Eliot Spitzer. Client #9, any one?

“It’s just amazing to me that I’m getting grief for having a sense of humor, like when did that become a bad thing? Why is there a rulebook that says all women have to respond the same exact way and be offended by the same exact things?

“I just was really surprised how serious people took it. Like, to me, it wasn’t a question of like, yeah it’s funny and yeah it was a little questionable, certainly, I know that, but it was funny because I laughed. So, I don’t understand why everybody else couldn’t laugh because I laughed. And then some people were like who never actually spoken to me, ‘Oh, you can tell, she was just really uncomfortable, she only laughed just to play along because she couldn’t wait to get out there and she only laughed and went on so she could save her job and keep getting credentials,’ it’s like no, I laughed because it was funny.”

Up until this point, I was cringing at her remarks. Then came the kicker.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s weird. I mean, like I said, you know, for me the good thing is that if it took this Rampage interview for people to discover that I’ve been covering MMA for all this time now and actually have a ton of interviews that are substantive and, you know, good then that’s cool. But it’s unfortunate that some people are going to dismiss not only me but MMA and female sports journalists because they think that I didn’t tow the line for women’s lib. I mean, it’s just silly.”

Josh Gross remarked yesterday, “UFC and people around UFC need to grow up. Agree 100% w/ (Kevin Iole) on this Rampage, Karyn Bryant, Joe Rogan, UFC mess.” In response to Larry Brown claiming that the reason the media tolerates abusive behavior is to keep their Zuffa credentials, Josh replied, “I’m sure that’s true for some. In this case, maybe more to do with the accepted culture of MMA. This kind of episode is nothing new.”

The ‘it’s nothing new’ argument is something I touched upon in Thursday’s column and just how flimsy of an argument it really is in 2011.

By far the nastiest reaction online has been towards Maggie Hendricks and anyone willing to defend her on The Underground Forum in the face of Joe Rogan’s remarks. It has been nothing short of brutal. Evan Shoman claims that it’s the message board folks who are criticizing Bryant, Rampage, etc. when in fact they are the biggest defenders of said individuals and are doing plenty of damage to the image of the sport in the eyes of important media writers, who throw their hands up in the air after initially wanting to give the sport a chance.

The negative criticism in response to Kevin Iole’s Yahoo column has been over-the-top. In response to one critic saying that the criticism of Bryant amounts of political correctness, Kevin responded by saying that sexual harassment is against the law. That led to a hyperbolic remark from someone claiming the following:

Frankly, your accusing someone of sexual harassment on a mainstream news website is libelous and, itself, against the law.

And then, things proceeded to get worse on the Karyn Bryant PR front. Wade Eck, Karyn’s husband, started getting into it with Kevin & Larry Brown.

WADE ECK: If you’re going to quote people @KevinI, don’t paraphrase their statements 2 manipulate meaning. @KarynBryant was JOKING w/ @Rampage4real

@LBSports how many other “real” MMA reporters are former CNN anchors, have co-anchored the CBS Early Show or have learned Portuguese?

UR out of line @LBSports. @KarynBryant + I have been happily married for close to 10 years. U call yourself a journalist posting this crap?

IMO @LBSports and @KevinI are the ones showing @KarynBryant the most disrespect, not @Rampage4Real. Why the hate? My problem is with U 2. You’re no better than a “keyboard warrior.” We’re friends w/ many fighters. – I’ve been training full contact since ’01.

@KevinI, she has NEVER talked about having sex w/ anyone. Doesn’t the code of prof ethics dictate telling the whole truth, w/o manipulating. 1)Although publicly visible, Twitter is personal space = no rules. 2) Joking about a date does not = joking about sex. #Difference

Kevin politely responded, “Wade, there is a code of professional ethics and reporters don’t talk to figures they cover about having sex w them, joking or not. … I think a lot of people interpreted the Tweet the way I did, Wade. How else can it be interpreted?” He’s referring to the now-infamous ‘side action’ tweet to Rampage.

Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN.com boxing writer, summarized his exasperation this way. “I agree Mohamed and I wonder how many people are grasping Kevin’s point about UFC’s responsibility.” It was in response to a reader who said, “It’s utterly disgusting & most don’t realize UFC is liable for Rampages actions in this instance It’s undefendable.”

That is the larger point in all of this. It all starts at the top in terms of how UFC manages this behavior. We know Dana White’s history with Loretta Hunt. Reportedly having someone privately apologize to Maggie Hendricks but not publicly do so is cheap. Hiding behind the ‘they’re independent contractors, not employees!” line with Joe Rogan is even more low-rent.

As for Larry Brown, he made sure to get his point across to both Karyn Bryant & her husband.

“It’s disappointing to me that you would find that behavior acceptable. I would hope everyone would be sensitive to harassment. That’s just not an acceptable work environment to maintain and it’s disappointing you condone it. Most women don’t want to live in a world where they feel they have to sleep w/boss to get ahead. We know where u stand on that.

“Joke on personal time not on camera while covering UFC event. UFC rejects credentials for real reporters but supports this nonsense.

“Do you think it’s OK for Rampage to do that to female reporters? You’re not the only one he’s done it to.

“UFC sends message we don’t want real reporting, we want women who will flirt with our fighters. Bad message to send.

“You need to stop excusing Rampage’s behavior. All workplaces, U.S. courts say it’s wrong. Too bad u don’t see that.

“UFC has created system where nobody can speak ill about the company. I understand you’re protecting your check. It’s OK to come out. … UFC wants people who are friends w the fighters, not anyone who will challenge them about anything. That’s wrong.”

The obtuseness, the denseness, and unpreparedness for grown-up answers to these controversies by the parties involved is not surprising, but it is still disappointing. More members of the general sports media are starting to take notice of what some of us have long had to deal with.

Should be an interesting press environment at the upcoming shows.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 48 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

48 Responses to “Sports media focus increasing on mess involving UFC, Rampage Jackson, Joe Rogan, Karyn Bryant”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Some people think she is not speaking up because she is afraid of the wrath of Zuffa.

    I think she is not speaking up because she really wasn’t offended. But no matter how much she says it, there are media trolls that want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    • Chris says:

      exactly.

      this is just attention whoring.

      If she was offended and UFC did nothing then there should be a shit storm, then articles like this should go up, but she wasnt so this is just Zach and Iole trying to get attention.

      Acting like someone was sexually abused or raped, but I understand sites like this and that awful bloodyelbow site need something to get traffic.

      If she wasnt ok with this then I’d be disappointed if sites didnt make a big deal out of it but she wasnt so drop it, its not a big deal.

      And rogan calling Maggie cunty he is right, man her articles are awful, she is terrible.

      • Zach Arnold says:

        If she was offended and UFC did nothing then there should be a shit storm, then articles like this should go up, but she wasnt so this is just Zach and Iole trying to get attention.

        Yes, exactly, because nothing beats writing about ugly topics that can destroy an industry that I cover for my career prominence. Give it up, already.

        Believe me, there are plenty of important people on the inside of the business (that’s as specific as I can get here) who agreed with what was written and getting tired of the standard behavioral protocol on such matters.

  2. EJ says:

    Wow Zach did you pull a muscle reaching so hard with this article?. You might have a future at Bloody Elbow if this site doesn’t work out for you after reading this piece.

    1. The idea that the UFC is somehow to blame for anything Rampage does is a joke.

    2. The idea that somehow Karyn Bryant is wrong about telling everyone that she wasn’t offended by what happened is ridiculous.

    3. Joe Rogan already apologized for his comment time to move on.

    Seriosly there are tons of things you could be doing long exposes about, like I don’t know how Sonnen was screwed over by the CSAC this isn’t one of those things.

    • klown says:

      Zuffa is absolutely responsible for the behavior of both Jackson and Rogan, for many reasons. They are both indelibly linked to the brand and marketing efforts of the UFC. Their behavior reflects on the UFC, like it or not. And only the UFC management has the power to bring them in line.

      The real reason Zuffa does nothing is because of the disgraceful public record of the CEO and face of the company.

      • EJ says:

        No they’re not these guys are contracted fighters nothing more, whether Rampage runs over someone or motorboats a woman it’s on him not Dana.

        To try and make any other type of claim is a huge reach and pretty much ridiculous on all counts.

  3. Shane says:

    Most women don’t want to live in a world where they feel they have to sleep w/boss to get ahead. We know where u stand on that.

    How on earth does Karyn Bryant stating she was not offended by what Rampage did imply that she feels it is okay for a woman to sleep with their boss to get a promotion? What an outrageous statement to make.

  4. klown says:

    Credit to Kevin Iole for the best column of his I’ve ever read.

    Some credit is also due to the Bloody Elbow team who did their part to keep the issue alive.

  5. Tommy says:

    Great work since Thursday on this topic

    http://www.fightopinion.com/2011/06/01/gsp-diaz-booked-ufc-137/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fightopinion+%28FightOpinion.com+-+Your+Global+Connection+to+the+Fight+Industry.%29

    This discussion has almost completely overshadowed post UFC 130 coverage and the TUF 13 finals fight week. Seems like the UFC’s PR strategy on this has just been to wait out the storm. A formal statement denouncing Rampage’s actions on Monday or Tuesday could halted most of the controversy that has plagued the promotion.

    Never thought all the issues would converge together in around six days

  6. […] Zach Arnold has further discussion of this topic, including the reaction of some other media outlets to these ongoings. I highly recommend taking the time to read it. Tags: Dana White, Joe Rogan, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, UFC […]

  7. David M says:

    This whole thing is a yawn. Seriously, who cares? He didn’t motorboat her, she wasn’t offended, and let’s move on.

    On a more controversial note, Rampage gets more leeway on acting like an irresponsible, immature person because he’s black. Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, white media people tend to have different standards for white and black people. Bernard Hopkins’ comments that he would never lose to a white boy weren’t a blip on the sports radar, and nobody really cared when Tyson called reporters white pussies. If Calzaghe had said he would never lose to a black fighter and if Klitschko ever called a black reporter a little black pussy, there would have been approximately 1,000,000 articles demonizing them and calling them racists.

    If Liddell had pretended to motorboat Bryant instead of Rampage, there would be way more controversy and all sports shows would be saying that MMA is just a place for white trash to congregate. Rampage does it and people just find it funny or don’t really want to touch it because they have lower standards for how black celebrities conduct themselves. Sad but true.

    Anyways, the idea that Dana White is responsible for Rampage’s actions or Joe Rogan’s actions is idiotic at best. They are grown ass men and can do whatever they want. Blaming Zuffa for this = fail.

  8. David Cruz says:

    The country is going down the crapper and the most important thing you guys can do is spend time arguing about celebrities and athletes. Bread and Circus google it!

  9. Steve4192 says:

    Larry Brown went a little overboard with this statement …

    “Secondly, the woman should be fired for her behavior. She was playing back to Rampage and more or less encouraging the behavior. “

    Karen Bryant should be fired because she played back?

    Way to vilify the supposed victim, Larry!

    Why do I have a feeling that if Karyn were outraged by this incident, Larry would not be calling for her job? Heather Nichols played along too. In the interest of fairness, Larry should go and persecute her too. Oh, wait. Heather took umbrage at Rampage’s lewd behavior, so she is hunky-dory in Larry’s book despite playing along on camera.

    • Shane says:

      Who’s going to fire Karen Bryant from her own show that she writes, shoots and produces with her husband?

      It’s as ridiculous and redundant as calling for Larry Brown to fire himself from his own sports blog if he did something offensive.

    • Alexander Mogue says:

      Funny, doesnt Karyn Bryant own MMAHeat? I guess she would have to fire herself.

    • klown says:

      That is a ridiculous remark by Larry Brown.

  10. David says:

    Deja vu all over again…I seem to recall the coterie of Zuffa nuthuggers launching into head scratching and nuanced defenses of Holzer Reich and suggesting that if people found Nazi imagery offensive it was their fault and they needed to get over it for the good of the sport. This is why MMA has peaked as a mainstream sport. It needs adults running the #1 promotion in the world and a serious and objective media covering it. It has neither with very few exceptions. In any case, keep up the good work. I’m a big MMA fan but can’t read 99% of MMA media without literally feeling the IQ points fly out of my head due to the sheer stupidity. Fight Opinion is an all too rare exception.

  11. David says:

    …and speaking of Holzer Reich you’ll probably see this play out the same way. After HR was banned the nughuggers tripped all over themselves to pat Zuffa on the back and commend them for doing the right thing when a few days before they were trying to suggest that all of the Nazi imagery was a coincidence. So Zuffa comes up with a lame public statement against sexual harassment and the back patting begins anew.

  12. Carson says:

    The strangest part about this to me is Karyn Bryant repeating how she “thought it was funny”. I can understand her playing along and allowing him continue his antics, but what adult really finds Rampage’s adolescent behavior funny? That, to me, is more telling about her character than her not being offended. To actually be amused by that shows some incredibly poor taste or that she is lying about the finding it funny part.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Perhaps she is attracted to him.

      Hey, it has to be said.

      Go bring an ugly dude to a bar and have him ask a hot girl if he can grab her chest. She will call him a pig.

      Then go get a really attractive dude to do the same thing. That same girl will laugh all giggly and be all into it.

      This interview doesn’t seem much different and it’s really the only explanation.

    • RossenSearchTeam says:

      “…to me, is more telling about her character…”

      And the character of most TUF fanboys and really most murikans.

      Every dummy fanboy has found basically the same behavior from jackson so funny and entertaining for years.

      Dont get all self righteous now all of a sudden like she’s the only one.

      Although I do understand how that would be a shrewd move for you if your writing for yahoo and looking to invent some juicy headlines.

  13. Salty Dog says:

    Rampage has become a bore of a fighter and the fact he’s getting a title shot is a joke. Once he gets knocked senseless, he’ll be a non-entity. The UFC is foolish to tie themselves in any way to this clown.

  14. RossenSearchTeam says:

    I dont see what the big deal is, especially when there is so much double standard to it.

    It’s been obvious to me for years that jackson is a almost brain dead ghettofried moron.

    I’ve said it for years.

    Just as obvious that thats exactly what middleclass fanboys find so “cool” about him.

    Thats why he gets undue title shots, gimme fights, and why everybody wants to interview him.

    Everybody doesn’t want to see and read jackson interviews because of his insight or well thought out opinions, they want to see him mumble and act ghetto.

    So Karyn Bryant set out to do what makes a journalist successful and give people what they wanted, and she got exactly that.

    What kind of idiot would have expected something much different?

    But of course that doesn’t stop the opportunistic and conveniently self righteous yahoo media from pulling an instant 180 from celebrating jackson all these years for his ridiculous embarrassing behavior, to suddenly being offended by the exact same thing after the minstral show has lost its headlining charm compared to a new crusade against affronts to feminism.

    And I dont care for that feminism stuff either.

    This is not a chick sport.

    This is a sport about violence, and aggression between powerful men.

    I dont think women should be banned from watching it or reporting on it, but I dont think we should change the whole sport so that girly girls can wander around the locker room and not get offended when these guys are violent, aggressive and potentially not proper english gentlemen.

  15. Light23 says:

    I don’t get the fuss over this. Karen Byrant flirts with everybody and was flirting with Rampage. Rampage was flirting back. They goofed around and had fun with it.

    Karen clearly has no problem with Rampage’s behaviour and finds it funny. It’d be fairly obvious that she would be willing to joke around like that.

    The main issue is that Rampage has done it in the past with reporters who are clearly very uncomfortable with it.

  16. Light23 says:

    Rampage’s interview with Ariel is something the media should be focusing on.

    A man and a woman flirting during a sports interview may be unprofessional, but who cares. A 220lb pro fighter getting in a reporter’s face because he didn’t like a question he asked is disgusting. He also talked about “his momma’s litter” and continued to do so even when Ariel said he wasn’t OK with it.

    Mutual flirting is outrageous, but blatant bullying of press is fine?

  17. Mark says:

    For the 10 millionith time, the issue is not whether or not she was cool with it. The troubling issue is how freely Rampage seems to do this to female reporters. There was no “Oh, I stepped over the line” mini-reaction or anything from him like there would have been from an athlete in any other sport. And that UFC fighters and announcers seem so comfortable with using slurs to insult people they disagree with (be it reporters or fans) is showing a lack of maturity that shows you UFC is not going to get to the next level they want to be at. They did a stupid social media coaching class at the Fighter Seminar last month but didn’t do a class on how to conduct yourself with class that football and basketball players have to take. Of course there’s never going to be a perfect roster and surely somebody will screw up even if they did that, but it has to happen if they want to be taken seriously by anybody but Yahoo.

    Zuffaites are saying “Well, they didn’t mean they’d be bigger than football, they meant they were be more universal than football.” But they stated their goal is to pull in one billion dollars a year by the beginning of the next decade. Think they’re going to do that with Jackson and Rogan’s behavior, and even Dana ignoring his own main events to try to pick a fight with some internet troll? Doing that much money means having a universal appeal. And they certainly aren’t close to having that as we saw last week.

  18. Light23 says:

    “The troubling issue is how freely Rampage seems to do this to female reporters. There was no “Oh, I stepped over the line” mini-reaction or anything from him like there would have been from an athlete in any other sport”

    He didn’t step over the line though. In the context of the situation it was not unexpected in the slightest. They were flirting and continued flirting, with Karyn responding very positively to each escalation. She found it hilarious, like she so obviously would.

    Rampage’s behaviour to reporters in general is unacceptable, but it seems strange to stir up a shitstorm over the one time when it was fine. Especially when he’d physically intimidated a reporter on the same weekend, simply because he’d prefer him to ask different questions.

    I would easily understand people writing articles about the two Ariel interviews, but the Karyn interview was a non-event. Karyn Bryant and Rampage Jackson flirted with each other – this is not a big deal.

    • edub says:

      This is the main thing I don’t get from this situation. He halfway threatened Ariel Helwani, but an obvious back and forth flirting session with a woman is the biggest deal. Logically, the one thing should be causing much more of a shit storm.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      One thing I’ve tried to stress on when writing about this topic is that the onus, the focus should be on the media/reporters here. It’s the way she has handled this situation since the video was put online that has provided the gasoline to fuel the proverbial fire. The comments she has made in interviews, the flirting/side action comment to Rampage on Twitter, etc. She’s practically emulating the Anthony Weiner 101 How Not To Handle PR playbook here.

      That is what has fueled the fire. That is what has gotten the attention of many high-profile names in the general sports media. It’s the sycophantic nature of many in the MMA media that is the poison here.

      • edub says:

        I don’t understand why it has to be against the “mma media” though. I don’t know Karyn from being a mixed martial arts reporter. I know her from being a regular on ESPN throughout the last couple of years. She has also worked for CNN and MTV before being a reporter on MMA Heat, and other Fight related avenues. If her wikipedia page is correct she also worked with Showtime at one point also.

        I’ve already said in the beginning that I don’t take either side in this argument (so I probably just shouldn’t be talking). What rampage does with reporters of the MMA community, wouldn’t fly with most main stream media. What Rogan said on the UG would’ve gotten someone like Bob Costas suspended at least. However, I also have a tough time agreeing with the side that this behavior is bringing women’s reporting in Fighting down. Karyn Bryant moved to MMA from other fields. She’s been in many more respectable positions before, and she had no problem with what went on (or at least is doing a damn good job hiding it). I don’t see why other sports media would look down on this so much when Bryant was a former part of those areas in the past.

        • Chuck says:

          That’s just it. Because she was part of those other avenues she would be looked down on. I remember when Jay Glazer started doing MMA commentary many football guys looked down on him for covering “human cockfighting”.

        • edub says:

          So if you’re looked down on just for being in the field why not say fuck it, and just have fun. For all the bad media, harassment talk, She appeared to be having a good time with Rampage in the moment.

          If she is looked down on just for being an MMA reporter in the first place, then anything “controversial” happening would have led to backlash.

  19. RossenSearchTeam says:

    “…like there would have been from an athlete in any other sport.”

    “…a lack of maturity that shows you UFC is not going to get to the next level…”

    I never found “thats what they do” to be a terribly convincing argument for forming my lifestyle or behaviour.

    And whats this next level of maturity jazz?

    murikan idol?

    The Oprah Winfrey show?

    jackson is an idiot.
    His talent is ass kicking.

    He will never be the devine Ms. O.

    That doesn’t mean he should be bannished to an island either. Or that everybody else is to blame for him.

    If he bothers you so much, dont interview him.

    leave him alone.

    UFC didn’t send him to Bryant or Hendricks or ioles house to motorboat them in their living rooms.

    Apparently he didn’t bother Ms. bryant so much that she was scared to interview him.

    (Or she at least found it worth it to get an in demand statement/mumble.)

    Hendricks didn’t even get out there to get a story. She’s sat behind her desk and wrote a story about someone else getting a story.

    And now iole’s writing about her writing about someone else.

    So how many degree’s of stupid are we at now?

    3?

    And IMO if Hendricks is going to be all bunched up with nitpicking about gender equality issues while she sits in her cubicle then she’s covering the wrong sport. She’s just being a nuisance.

    Head on down and cover WNBA, that way we wont be bothering her and she wont be ruining our good time.

    Its really a basic common sense thing.

    Also if she’s afraid of loud noises or the sight of blood, she probably shouldn’t become a war corrospondant in Afghanistan.

    Unless her whole schtick is seeking out places to get offended so that she can manufacture an outrage to write about, its very possible that the entire thing is by implicit design.

  20. edub says:

    Newsflash to the guys acting like it’s deplorable to not be offended by what rogan said, or Rampage did:

    You are in the minority. The reason nobody is making a big deal about it is because it really isn’t that big of a deal. Karyn Bryant should be a key factor in how this situation is handled…

  21. Michael Rome says:

    This has to go down with the all-time classics of “big stories on Fight Opinion that literally nobody else gives a shit about.” What we learned is that Quinton is a boar, and Karyn Bryant knows how to just let things slide off her back. What is really pissing Zach and others off is they want her to be part of the outrage brigade, but she’s just refusing to add fuel to their fire.

    The most moronic part of this article (and it was hard to pick just one) was the notion that the reason the MLB is not a niche sport is because it doesn’t allow things like this. Yes, THAT is the reason baseball in America is not a niche sport…don’t be absurd. The causal analysis actually goes the other way. Baseball doesn’t tolerate things like this because it’s not a niche sport.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      This comment is a bizarre conflation of illogical reasoning by you.

      If you don’t think that people in UFC are concerned about what happened, then you are mistaken. Granted, they didn’t see it coming the way it played out, but now that it has there’s plenty of focus.

      I laugh at your claim that nobody in the general media is paying attention. I’ve received plenty of correspondence through various channels of people with name value/importance who are paying attention. It doesn’t mean they’ll be active in writing something about the topic at hand, but a mental note is established. At a time where business is starting to become stagnant and is struggling for domestic growth, it is critical to develop in-roads amongst female fans and writers with large platforms for communication.

      Again, I will repeat what I have said elsewhere. Kevin’s angle coming out of this was about sexual harassment. My angle coming out of this is the completely sycophantic, ass-kissing, in-the-bubble, ‘don’t take away my sport’ nature that is on display by a fair amount of MMA media writers who won’t stand up and actually comment on anything remotely controversial in fear of pissing off the wrong people. That, to me, is what this is all about.

      As far as Karyn Bryant goes, it’s her comments, it’s her actions that generated the fire here and you have to have your head in the sand not to see that. In a business where women writers have been demeaned or castigated publicly by the powers-that-be, it’s actions like Bryant’s that make it that much harder for women writers to be taken seriously in this field. You can disagree with that opinion and that’s OK, but I speak to plenty of media types who debate whether or not they should start covering MMA on a large scale. Incidents like these and the current media social scenesters that are covering the sport are making matters worse.

      In regards to the comment about MLB, do you honestly think that this incident would get a pass on a national scale from ESPN, SI, and other major media outlets if it happened in that sport? Hell no. Dana White talks about how he wants this sport to grow fast. Well, with a larger audience comes a larger responsibility to have your act together. In no other major sport could such behavior be tolerated or condoned in 2011. When golf — yes, golf — is more advanced than your sport when it comes to the treatment of women, you know something is not kosher.

      So, go ahead and demean me if it makes you feel better, Michael. I was here long before you were covering the sport and I’ll be here long after you are gone. Plenty of us have foresight and experience in terms of the history of this business. If you want a more like-minded audience for your viewpoint, I’m sure there’s plenty of other writers who would be glad to accommodate you at the next post-fight after-show pool party they’re at.

      • Salty Dog says:

        Some people just don’t get it Zach. And I think you’re right, their logic is skewed — or they just have no sense of it. Bryant’s logic is off, too.

        Sexual harassment is still sexual harassment even if the offended didn’t take it that way. Jackson is a ticking time bomb and will blow up in the UFC’s face soon.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Exhibit 1A to Zach’s point about the in-the-bubble, wannabes in mma media, a guy like Michael Rome sitting here try to blast Zach – weren’t you the guy trying (unsuccessfully iirc) to score a job interning in the legal department for Zuffa?

    • Chuck says:

      Michael;

      You’re kidding, right? A ton of people care about this story. You have to be a fool/moron to not see that. I agree with Zach- Karyn Bryant is a sycophantic dumbass. And as was stated above, this story is more about Jackson continuously getting away with bullshit like he pulled than about Bryant refusing to be angry over it (that is really a small part of it).

      Here’s the thing; if Bryant doesn’t care, then whatever. That’s her business. But she handled herself (during and after the interview) like an unprofessional teenager. This is a married, with a kid, woman in her early forties acting like a giggly teenager.

      And why do many (including myself, and excuse the weasel words) care about what happened, even though Bryant doesn’t? Because that shit shouldn’t be tolerated. Period. It’s a hostile work environment. Forget that it’s at a sports arena after an MMA event, and instead pretend it’s a restaurant. Imagine, instead of a fighter and a “reporter” (I use the term very loosely for Bryant), they are a server and a hostess acting like that while on work hours. Should that shit be tolerated? No, it shouldn’t (I should know, I’ve worked at a restaurant that is like that, and there are many others). There is a reason (well, many reasons) that there are sexual harassment laws and hostile work environment laws. It’s not about being PC (that is a VERY small part of it). It’s about people keeping their God damned hands to their selves and to not act like boorish Cro-Magnuns. Well, that is the main part of it anyway…

  22. sammy says:

    YAAWWWWNNN..

    Very disappointing that this site is covering this non-news story.

    Very boring, very uninteresting.

    MMA/boxing is the most non-PC legal business you can be in next to porn. Get over it. There is a double standard for this sport and thats just the way it is.

    As much as you people would like MMA to be accepted and subject to normal PC-standards, it isnt and NEVER will be. Boxing is 100+ years old in this country and it still is looked down upon as a pseudo-business. Thats not going to change no matter how nice and proper everyone is.

  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

    • Chris says:

      I’ve seen alot of people saying the UFC/Dana is either directly or indirectly putting pressure on you to laugh this off.

      Like you make an issue and you wont be credentialed, we all know the people like Hunt and Gross etc who dont get creds to UFC’s, though little different spoiling TUF 4 and not getting a pass and saying you better shut up and not talk about this otherwise you wont be allowed at UFC events.

      I’ve seem more then a few say shit like this, that he either told you straight up to shut up or nothign was said but your playing this off cause you fear if you did make a stink about it that after a few months all of a sudden you’ll be shut out and they will come up with some bullshit excuse and it wasnt cause you made a stink about it etc.

      I personally think you didnt think it was a big deal and werent offended, if you werent then I dont think anyone else should be either.

      If I was Dana I would sit down with Page cause this isnt the first time he has had issues, someone needs to tell him this aint good, especially if he is gonna be fighting Jones for the title and could be champ in the next few months, he needs to kill this shit, even if this time you werent offended I did think the humping shit he did was fucked up, he does need to dead that stuff before he really crosses the line.

  24. scott whitt says:

    I was not that offended by the Bryant interview. I think it did cross the line but bot in the way that Rampage’s dry humping if the reporter awhile back. That could have gotten him arrested and convicted easily. I think the worst part of this is that it may hurt Karen;s credibility. Women reporters in MMA seem to be just a pretty face. Look at who Showtime has used for Strikeforce. Karen knows the sport and is learning a foreign language to help her. However, she will now be the girl that rampage motorboated. The “side action” tweet was just dumb.
    I think Rogan calling Hendricks a name because he didn’t like her opinion and then saying he meant bitchy as an apology, is way worse. UFC “relationship” with the media is very strange. Between these instances, the overlooked interview with Ariel, and Dana’s vendettas against Loretta and Josh. They better hope that someone at SI or ESPN does not get bored and do a story on them. It will be a sh*storm that they could not dream off.
    I think it is ironic that my anti-spam word was “juiced”

  25. Jackson says:

    What the balls, this is way way to long….and from the half I could read, I’m not exactly sure why theres an issue at all, it’s Rampage, its a cute girl that obviously was either one, enamored with him or two, thought the same and flirted back as well….If that gets people in a uproar, jesus christmasss whats the world gonna come to, segregation in glass tubes in order to co mingle in a world of paparazi and press?? Really people, grow up a lil man, its what were supposed to do….otherwise, how you think your kiddos gonna be born geezeeeeee….

  26. Sean says:

    Ultimately all of this is irrelevant. I don’t understand the big deal of it all really… professional athletes of any kind are always being blamed for things like this, it was just a matter of time for it to be passed along MMA’s way.

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