The news in the business of MMA this week has been gut wrenching.
Gut wrenching in coverage, topic, and disregard. There is never a shortage of hot issues to be reported on, and while some seem hotter than others, sometimes the sport is lost in between pursuit of exposure versus desire to diversify coverage.
Mixed Martial Arts as it would seem is suffering a little bit of Deja Vu with regard to a negative far outweighing a positive as far as newsworthy topics go. In a media blitz reminiscent of Anderson Silva's questionable approach in a recent title fight with Demian Maia, a stellar fight card has been overlooked in the sake of covering a more marketable issue.
Frankie Edgar pulled off the biggest upset in MMA history against B.J. Penn, taking "The Prodigy's" title in a decision win. Say what you will about the outcome, it happened and to be quite honest Edgar not only got overlooked but he was almost completely brushed under the rug.
The focus for those who cover the sport turned to Anderson Silva and his approach that many found offensive and frustrating. How is that? How does a heavy underdog's upset of a perennial champion take a back seat to a sub par performance by a guy who has a reputation for being a bit of a clown in the cage?
Everyone knows the answer, bad news sells. It is no mystery, that has been the case across journalism since the dawn of reporting. That said, ask yourself does it make it right that Edgar's triumph was not prioritized more so than it was? Which brings us to the most recent point.
This week it was alleged that Tito Ortiz laid hands on his girlfriend Jenna Jameson. There are of course multiple accounts of this or that being said in this very private and personal issue that you and I have found worthy of not only our interest but of course all the judgement we see fit to pass in the process.
What essentially has happened here fight fans is the simple fact that we can all rest assured we have made it in this world. If TMZ is starting to cover the ebb and flow of the personal lives of our most famed fighters, we can sleep easy with the knowledge that our time has finally come.
Again though, ask yourself, are we leaving it up to the lead of TMZ to show us the way on how to cover this sport? Of course it's obviously news worthy and warrants a fraction of our interest as Tito is a representative of our great sport. But the extent to which the issue was covered and dissected and more than likely will continue to be is quite disturbing.
The details are of course troubling and disturbing to any decent human being who may possess an opinion about the issue. Even without all the facts a certain level of concern comes with the territory. But there are bigger fish to fry as a journalist, more relevant topics that are begging to be exposed and discussed.
Enter Leonard Garcia versus the guy with the coolest nick name ever "The Korean Zombie", Chan Sung Jung. This fight, a fight that honestly could rival Griffen versus Bonnar as one of the best ever, deserves three times the exposure that Ortiz and Jameson are getting in their personal life.
And this fight, my friends, was just the tip of a very big iceberg that quite frankly didn't get a lick of credit compared to MMA's most recent mainstream newsworthy story. Honestly anyone who wrote a Tito domestic violence article that didn't have anything to say about Garcia vs Sung Jung should be ashamed of themselves.
The entire WEC card was electrifying and entertaining to a point that it made a fight fan forget all the complaints that they might have had in recent memory. Aldo versus Faber on PPV was the most explosive and compelling fight card this sport has seen in a long time.
Every fight had something to offer, and every outcome held a lot of weight across the promotion. The ripple effect of this card will be flowing for some time. And that is all without considering the amazing fight of the night winner between Garcia and Sung Jung.
What happened live on Spike TV on that preliminary undercard was nothing short of astonishing. Fight fans grovel and moan every time a card is lackluster, it seems like they hope it sucks so they can complain about how lousy it was in the morning.
Finally MMA hand delivered a spectacular fight card and the most compelling thing they can talk about is some unfortunate couple's personal problems. Hey, it's great that you have an opinion but if you really care, go down to the shelter in your neighborhood and help battered women get back on their feet.
If its that important to you then hats off, but lets dispense with the idea that just because some teenie bopper site says its OK to shove our noses in their business that it makes it OK for us to divert our attention from what is really going on, and what we are all doing here, and that is covering MMA .
Our love and passion for mixed martial arts is what got us the credibility to openly judge Ortiz and Jameson in the first place. It is Leonard Garcia and The Korean Zombie who make the topic worth talking about in the first place. It was Tito Ortiz who pioneered and blazed a path for you to even consider yourself an MMA connoisseur.
Maybe it would do us all good to remember that there is a lot of good that sets our sport apart from others. For example being able to walk into a gym any day of the week and interview a hungry fighter or even an MMA vet who is training them.
The more steam this type of garbage gains as we fuel the fire of negative press when there are so many more worthy topics to cover, the more you and I will see those gym doors close when we come knocking.
We are all human and we have our right to observe judge and report but we must do so with a discriminating eye because the sad fact is we shouldn't be judging too harshly lest we be judged ourselves. And never forget we are at the mercy of the sport not the other way around.
It can go on without our cooperation, we may not be able to say the same. And the more we start dissecting the personal lives of fighters and their families like we're the national inquirer, the more we will be perceived as such by those who's trust we are striving to earn.
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