We all know that relationships can be hard, the classic line “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” comes to mind. Relationships have to be worked at and developed, there are good times and bad. Although this sounds like marriage counselling it is not.
The UFC just like any other company selling a product needs to promote that product. Even if the UFC is the biggest MMA promotion in the world everyone in the office still rules the daily risk that they will fade into obscurity. To garner the level of promotion needed the brand needs to constantly be exposed on a number of different outlets including; TV, radio, internet, newspapers, face to face contact ( UFC Fan Expo) are all vital.
It is obvious though that the UFC rank the importance of these outlets, a commonly known example of this is that it’s extremely difficult for a medium sized blog or even a large blog without any respectable company backing to get credentials to their events. Indeed local newspapers are the first in line for that type of thing. The evidence is there in interviews about the subject and more generally access, the UFC and more specifically Dana White doesn’t like bloggers, conveying the feeling that these websites are second rate. If you don’t have a degree or your foot in the door your opinion is worthless.
The question I pose though is this. The fans that read these blogs are the hardcore backbone of the promotion’s audience, the people that buy every pay-per-view, know the ins and outs of a very complicated sport and for most MMA has become a life style. Not to mention that before MMA was respected as a combat sport, the internet was the only place to have real coverage and opinion. You see then that the opinion of the bloggers and the fans that read and debate should be held in the highest regard, why is it not?
On Saturday, a well known blog posted an article that insinuated White had placed a $500,000 bet on Jon Jones to be victorious in his upcoming bout with former team mate Reshad Evans. The UFC legal machine was kicked into action and the article was quickly retracted. For me, this is an example of when a blog oversteps the very fine line of co-existence, The UFC need the blogs because that’s how their performance and debate about company direction actually happens. Every other outlet simply reports the news with very little actual opinion. That being said though, the blogs don’t want to burn any potential bridges with the biggest promotion in the world. Posting articles that bash everything the UFC does, or points to corruption of it’s president is going to do that.
The solution then, is to come to a happy medium. The ESPN’s and FOX Sports of the world break the news, the blogs then debate and discuss that news. Clearly sometimes not the liking of the UFC president, but hey, it’s something we have to deal with. I would suggest that the UFC are more open to fan sites, as I stated before this is where the core of their fan base is, and ultimately their opinions are vital. At the same time though, these blogs need to show a certain level of respect and neutrality in what they cover, having an opinion while showing both sides of the argument is a great skill. Every one of the media outlets stated has unique merits and can be used by the UFC for great success. This can only be the case though if these merits are respected equally.