Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
All throughout the interview process there are choices that need to be made. Angles are chosen, a select range of questions are scribbled and the proper state of mental readiness is found in final preparation for the task at hand.
Once the one-on-one time is logged and the audio recorder has captured what transpired, the next phase of the project is set to begin.
While some journalists believe the actual interaction of the interview is the toughest part of the process, others put that particular emphasis on crafting the feature that goes out to the viewing public. The audio recording has to be transcribed, and where no two journalists are exactly alike, it is universally understood throughout the media community the process of bringing audio to print is akin to the common cold...a lot of drainage and mild discomfort.
Once the transcribing is done, next comes the architecture portion. Blocks of quotes are chiseled down, compressed and plugged in to shape the article. This part of the process is noteworthy due to having to leave certain things behind because not everything said is going to fit with the direction the article is going.
There may have been some quotes the writer feels are fantastic and on point, but unfortunately they don't do much to push things toward the greater destination the feature is aiming at. Those are certainly difficult moments—especially when the journalist is crafting an in-depth piece on the subject—but "less is more" typically applies more times than not.
Unless of course the medium is a video interview, and if that is the case, all previous points listed above can be disregarded. Those guys and gals sure do have it easy.
That said, any time there is a way to salvage and share the quotes that were clipped out or unused in a feature, it absolutely feels like a victory because those moments are few and far between.
In the most recent installation of "The Fighting Life," Dana White sat down and locked in for an in-depth interview that covered the past, present and future of the UFC.
Over the past 13 years, White, the Fertitta brothers (Frank III and Lorenzo) and a roster of fighters have put it all on the line to make the UFC the most successful promotion in all of mixed martial arts.
While the interview became the latest edition of the ongoing series, there were several topics and their adjoining quotes that ultimately didn't make the final cut. Yet, with White's passion and knack for tackling every subject thrown his way head on, sharing the additional material felt like the right thing to do.
Here is what came from the cutting room floor of "The Fighting Life" with Dana White.
Fighter mentality in the early days of Zuffa's UFC
"They just loved to fight. None of these guys were like, ‘I want a 10 million dollar deal and I want this or that.’ These guys just wanted to fight. I used to fight with Chuck Liddell about fighting. Take the [Renato] “Babalu” Sobral fight for example. He wanted that fight and I told him he wasn’t taking it. I told him he was going to wait for the Tito [Ortiz] fight to materialize and he said, ‘F*** that. I’m going to fight, it’s going to be on the same card and I’m fighting Babalu.’ We got in a fight about it and it was a huge ordeal. Well…he ends up getting the fight and he wins in devastating fashion. Things like that were just crazy but those guys just wanted to fight. That’s how I knew this thing was such a home run."
The realities of working for the UFC
"It’s crazy and this thing is only going to keep growing. Everywhere I go around the world and on Twitter, people always tell me their lifelong dream is to work for the UFC. They all say they want to work for the UFC, but the UFC is the most thankless job on Earth. We hire people that are badasses. They know what they have to do then go in and get it done. And they don’t get thanked for it."
"The UFC goes 100 mph. We go from event to event to event and the only time you’ll hear anything at the UFC is if you f*** s*** up. If you f**** up, you’re going to hear about it. You did all this great s*** and nobody said a thing. Nobody said thanks or that you did a great job, but that’s the atmosphere at the UFC. That’s the machine and what we have over there. We have people who are just in it. Another thing I love about it is that as the company continues to grow and we get bigger, we continue to not only hire the best and brightest in the field, but they are passionate about it."
"It’s a thankless job, but it’s huge and we all know what we are doing. I’m not going to speak for my people, but I think the people who work for us wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s awesome but what we are a part of and what we are doing is a little frustrating at times. We have our growing pains and shit just isn’t what it used to be. It’s only going to keep getting bigger and bigger and continuing to get further away from what it used to be. But I think we all get it and keep plugging along. As crazy and as unthankful as it is, it is awesome and powerful at the same time."
Dealing with the media in MMA
"There is so much s**t going on that people don’t even know about yet. I don’t want this to come off the wrong way because I honestly mean no disrespect by this. The media has been great about a lot of things. When I talk about this being a thankless job…nobody is ever happy at the end of the day. These guys aren’t happy, nobody is getting paid enough, and this group of people isn’t happy about this or that. The media is always taking shots at us about one thing or another. It drives me crazy—literally drives me crazy—when I have to read stories about our business by guys who have never built a business."
"Stories by guys who have no idea what it’s like to deal with a roster of 500 guys with 500 different egos. We are trying to operate this thing as smoothly as possible while dealing with the different things these guys want, not to mention our employees in Las Vegas and at our different offices all over the world. Then I have to read these stories in the media from guys who have never built anything. They are talking about how we are f****** up and doing this wrong and that wrong. Then suddenly the Fight Pass comes into play."
"We came out with Fight Pass, then WWE comes out with the same thing a couple of weeks after. We keep all of our business private because we are a private company, but these people get on these Internet chat rooms and talk about what is wrong with this or that. I won’t do it, but if people knew how many subscribers we have for Fight Pass it would blow people’s minds. But I have to read these stories from people who have never built businesses before talking about how we are f****** s***t up."
The excitement for fight week never gets old
"That is what I love. Even after everything we’ve put together over the past 13 years, fight week is what matters and means the most to us. We made a fight. We picked a card where the guys are going to fight. We put out the press release, sell the tickets and do everything we have to do to let people know this fight is going down. Then all of a sudden we are here. How are they going to react? How are they going to fight? How are they going to deliver on Saturday night? There is no better drama than that."
A different perspective of rapid company growth
"If you look at the people we touch and reach all over the world and how much money has been generated for so many people because of this idea and us having the balls to do it is incredible. It’s crazy. Lorenzo and I have had this conversation where we link out everything we’ve done and how many people have been affected and it’s crazy. It’s such a massive crazy industry and it’s cool to see it from that perspective."
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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