Discussion in 'Cageside - MMA Discussion' started by Wild, Aug 23, 2019.
Without saying Helwani. Super awkward video.
jesus christ. luke thomas takes 20 min to say about 3 mins of actual content
cliff notes? I can listen to this fucker on Sirius, while in the car, but not while sitting at a desk. Captive audience, and all.
Basically he goes on how it’s impossible to be a real journalist in MMA because the scene is just too small and everyone gets all shitty when you make even the most modest of observations that may not make a fighter look good. He harkens back to his time at the MMA hour which he said he had to sell his soul a bit to get interviews and that was one of the reasons why he no longer considers himself a journalist and left the show.
He’s pretty much saying that folks like Helwani are frauds.
He really does sound like his haircut looks.
He says MMA is too small for real journalism.
MMA journalism is soft, interviews like the Helwani McGregor piece are PR rather than actual interviews.
Fighters will black ball you if you ask tough questions.
He doesn't want to be leveraged like the rest of the MMA media.
Trying to be honest in his assesment of the sport and the fighters, encourages other media to do the same.
He loves hearing himself talk and thinks others are as impressed with what he says as he is.
If he posted on TMMAC his sn would be Filthy.
As he gladly took over hellwanny’s spot
He may have been happy at first but he certainly wasn’t happy with the gig by the time he called it quits there.
I know we love to hate on the guy but other than being wordy he’s one of the most “real” analysts out there IMHO. Yeah sometimes he fills time with some nonsense but I prefer his take over Shaub or Helwani or Okamoto etc.
He's a smug, canterankerous dickhead who thinks he is way smarter than he actually is. But that still makes him a better bloke than most people in the MMA media. He has some integrity.
His show with Brian Campbell is pretty good too. Because Campbell isn't a pussy like most people Luke deals with, it keeps him more in check.
thomas,schaub,helwani,and okamoto .what a pompous bunch of smug cocksuckers. how is this the best we can do for mma journalists? good god. there is like 300 mma podcasts and these turds are the ones who rise to the top.sad
Luke is right. I was an MMA journo earlier in the game and even the directions you would get from editors nodded to the idea that it was mostly fanfiction. There were always exceptions like Josh Gross, Loretta Hunt, and Eddie Goldman, but they all paid a price when they started to deviate from the party line with the UFC. And the thing about it was how few fighters stood behind them and sort of joined in the chorus. When it came to fighters, many of the interviews were set up the same way an article about a WWE superstar would be framed. You were just supposed to take their in cage character for granted and go along with it. I departed from this fairly early on after getting sick of the fawning and ended up getting a disclaimer that what I wrote "did not reflect the opinions of the publisher." It was fairly clear most MMA journalists had and have no journalistic training or experience to speak of and are usually just glorified bloggers, even if they are working for professional outlets nowadays. That first generation of media were often people who had okay writing skills and also happened to train at a gym or know people who did. Those who took it seriously, or who actually had journalistic training, were just starting to get tired of the BS and push back when the UFC decided to change their credentialing policy to make it much more restrictive so they could control the narrative. At the time, fighters weren't opposed to it because many didn't want their own lives under a ton of scrutiny. This of course backfired once Zuffa finally started to turn a profit and fighters realized they weren't getting an adequate share, but who was really around to talk to? Mostly media that was essentially an extended Zuffa PR team.
Karim Zidan is I think the best active MMA journalist who actually does investigative work and pulls no punches. The one thing Luke doesn't mention or maybe doesn't know is that actual journalists have a variety of methods for getting around hostile interviewees or people unwilling to be interviewed. That's what investigative journalism is literally for. If he wanted to be a journalist, he could be, but he'd have to put in the work. Commentary, which is what he does, is by comparison much easier. Interviewing is its own genre with its own methods for getting information in the public interest out of someone who may have set limits on what they'll talk about. When he mentions someone saying "I won't talk to you because you said my cardio was bad" a part of the reason he'd be getting that feedback is because of straddling the line between being a commentator and an interviewer, which is pretty unique to sports journalism. Like he alludes to, MMA isn't big enough to have a sophisticated media apparatus with more strict divisions of labor, but you would think with outlets like Fox Sports and ESPN having devoted coverage time to them that some of that would be changing. Then again, this is a problem with those outlets simultaneously being broadcasters and news sources. There's just way too much conflict of interest in MMA and there always has been.
It can't be said better than that.
I said to myself "frat," but read the first line, and kept going. Good stuff.
I think the point you made about pro-wrestling 'in-character' interviews speaks to the larger negative influence of pro wrestling on the MMA media.
That's an industry where 'journalism' is essentially just dirt sheets reporting dubious rumors or outright making shit up for click bait, knowing that the secretive and deliberately blurred fiction/non-fiction nature of that business doesn't lend itself to having these stories debunked. While there's a click bait/actual journalism dynamic in most sports media industries, here it's almost just pure click bait. What's left is just repeating stories that the promoters want put out there.
So the problem is partially the media acting as a PR department, and partially that historically the component that wasn't geared towards PR was always geared towards trashy sensationalism.
Because a lot of early MMA journalism was derived from the same or similar pro wrestling internet websites, it never really began from a position of doing actual journalism at all. And that legacy remains.
So while it is often rightly pointed out that the control the UFC exerts over the MMA-focused media and the lack of interest from alternative news sources combine to make things shit, so does the internal culture that has existed since the beginning.
We were told by a fighter that they would never do a fan Q&A ever again and tell others not to as well after we copy and pasted a wikipedia opening sentence as part of their intro background. They found the paragraph about their background offensive and came in hot, guns blazing. The data was accurate but wasn't the childhood picture they wanted painted. They eventually did the Q&A for the fans and said they'd never do another thing for us. It was one sentence in about 15 that we had pulled together from various net resources to build a profile that was basic in its formula -- "grew up in -> got into mma when/how -> early fights -> recent career -> upcoming work". No ill intent was meant but we were told to fuck off basically from it. I guess we could have asked them to provide a bio, but cest la vie. We were trying to promote them and encourage the fan interaction, not even as journalist really. I can see how easy the minefield can get you.
Maybe we should out these folks on how ridiculous they're behaving over such silly shit....
Meh, then I feel like I would be just as silly. They don't owe me anything, but it is short sighted. We want to provide a platform that allows direct fan interaction and are even willing to go a step further...we ask the q&a be done in with a modicum of respect. So in a way, we provide fighters a safe avenue to engage with fans without open ended troll responses to them. Could have just said, "Hey, can we change that?" and we would have bent over backwards to do so. We are a small site that is run by fans for fans. We have only an interest in fan interaction and are happy to push those friendly fighters where we can because I think taking that time shows some type of good character. That fighter could easily just go do press releases or shop a journalist, but instead is talking to fans for free.
I get it and it was more of a knee jerk reaction on my part. I just think it's so silly for folks to be so anal about silly stuff like what you described. I can understand the CM PR team being very mindful to control the narrative but for fighters to bitch about a statement pulled from Wikipedia, well that's just goofy IMO.
Yeah, in promotional work, it's definitely best to always clear or solicit a bio, and I can see how the wiki thing, which may not even be accurate, or might focus on a part of one's life they're trying to leave behind, could be a problem. Part of the problem is interviewees (and readers alike maybe) bring expectations of what they think media is and should be, regardless of what the outlet actually does. The other problem is many athletes are fragile anyway (a consequence of the stress, the preparation, the exploitation) and having a media that basically gives them blow jobs as compensation is what they've grown to expect.