by Ryan Bennett
It was an interesting week to say the least. The UFC was supposed to battle the WWE. Instead more fans were obsessed with the UFC vs the MMA Media battle. Ryan Bennett, the owner of MMAWeekly makes his last statement publicly regarding the issue…
I spent the entire week in Toronto and I missed a lot of what happened in MMA this past week. As I’ve checked my emails this weekend, I see that many of you…the fans, are tired of hearing about the MMA Media Ban. To be honest, I’m tired of it as well. Can we move on? We probably need to.
If there is one thing about MMAWeekly.com that we have always done is listen and cater to the fans and we will do so again regarding this issue. This is the fans website, it always has been it always will be.
Over the years we’ve done a lot of stuff to make this site more fan friendly. Whether it was creating this website to give you the most MMA updates 24/7, creating a daily radio show for the fans to Soundoff, or giving you live updates from Las Vegas with pictures, results, etc from various events from Pride, UFC, K1 and more.
With that said as I’ve wrestled with what is the best move in regards to the direction of our site. I received a few emails like this. “I feel your job as a website is to report what’s going on in ALL of MMA. UFC, Pride, WEC, Rumble on the Rock, etc….just because the UFC screwed you over, it’s been your obligation to report the entire sport. You’ve done it in the past, you need to do it again now. It’s the fighters and fans that the UFC is screwing over, you guys shouldn’t screw us over either.”
Chris LeFevre – Ottawa, Canada
This was one of the many emails I received with the same sentiment and Chris you’re absolutely right and I agree. As a result, MMAWeekly.com is lifting our ban of UFC coverage effectively immediately. Our website wanted to make a statement, along with Sherdog, FC Fighter, MMA Ring Report and other MMA Media and we did that. Judging from early attendance figures and numbers in general from this past week, we do have a significant impact on the sport, not only at the gate, but with the fans as well.
I know you, our readers, went nuts when you didn’t get the daily coverage that you are used to getting and hopefully now you can appreciate what we do on a daily basis and the long hours we spend every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with our around the clock information.
I want to say “thank you” publicly to Scott Petersen, Ken Pishna, Mick Hammond, Ivan Trembow, Jeff Cain, Damon Martin, Tim Spagnola, Greg Honda, Tom Call, Frank Trigg, and forgive me for the countless others I’m forgetting, who many of you don’t even know. They are the ones that bust their rear-ends every single day for truly the LOVE OF THE SPORT to give you the most MMA news, Weigh-In Pictures, 24 hour around the clock coverage, etc. Those guys are not only the contributors, but the heart of the site known as MMAWeekly.
To the rest of the MMA media, the Jeff Sherwood’s, Josh Gross, Joel Gold, Loretta Hunt, Arnold Lim’s, and the rest of my MMA media brethren and their staffs, I salute you for taking a stand in something you believe in and I appreciate your continued work which stems from years and years of service and lots of work, without much gratitude in MMA. Your hard work and dedication, which most people don’t have a clue at what you bring to the sport on a daily basis, has been absolutely huge and I publicly salute you.
We made a statement as a group and to my surprise it absolutely had a profound effect on the industry, the fans, and the UFC, for better or for worse and in MMA in general. We also found out that other organizations need the exposure and we have been giving it to them this past month which is great for the sport in general.
It’s unchartered waters to where we go from here, but the bottom line is we do have a job to do. The email from Chris above and many others like it hit home and it is time to move on. May the UFC also move on and realize it’s the hardcore MMA fans they are turning their backs on, not just the “internet media”. For whatever reason Zuffa lost sight of this. As UFC President Dana White said at both UFC Press Conferences at UFC 50 and UFC 52, as he thanked the internet media, naming specific MMA sites like this one at UFC 50 for quote “keeping the sport alive by the internet.” Not sure what was lost in translation between 52 and now UFC 55, but maybe one day he will understand what many of you have already realized. The internet is much more important and influential than the daily newspaper that doesn’t give a crap about our sport.
The internet sites are a huge aspect to the sport of MMA, while CNBC, the Boston Globe and countless other mainstreamers continue to get their facts wrong on a daily basis about the sport you and I both love. It’s the true MMA Media that has been with the sport through the tough times, the good, bad or ugly that will always be there for the dependable balanced coverage in the end. So for now we get back to the work we have always done on all MMA organizations. Maybe one day the UFC will understand all publicity, internet or print is good for their product in the end. For now thank you for your support and it’s time to get back to work.