Unbiased journalism is something all professional journalists strive to achieve. All professional companies know never to stand in the way of journalism. Not only is it a bad look, it always tends to dig up the skeletons that no one wants to be found.
The UFC’s relationship with media has been spotlighted via the Ariel Helwani-Dana White feud, the epitome being the UFC 199 Brock Lesnar breaking news blow-up. The posthumous effects from the incident labeled Helwani a dirty, low-class journalist who could no longer be kept in the fold for news.
It seemed that no more leaks or issues occurred between the UFC and the media. That the UFC PR and the media had found their stride and built a solid relationship. But recently, on the famous Brit Youtube channel True Geordie Xtra, Tom Ransom from the popular MMA fan YouTube channel MMA On Point revealed a detail that many people didn’t seem to know.
So now it’s up to the public to decide how serious this little secret is to be.
The Mechanics Behind UFC Media
Very recently, the MMA On Point channel received media accreditation to cover UFC events. When describing his experience, he says, “It’s just mad, it’s just mad.” Next, he elaborates how they go into that media room, which could fill up to 20-30 journalists (depending on the hype behind the card). He then says that people use their iPhones to get their content, unlike filming for YouTube with their extra equipment.
Ransom goes on to dub the media process “The Wild West.” First, it seemed as if the UFC is geared to bring in as many people as possible rather than focusing on quantity and quality. Then what transpired next was probably the most shocking moment of the whole video.
As Geordie and company exclaim at the inside perspective that Tom was providing, Tom goes on to deliver the pièce de résistance.
“I don’t know whether or not they would like me saying this, or or ah… actually f*ck it, I can’t say it. But, there’s probably, it’s probably an NDA. So I won’t, I won’t say it. But there’s been some shocking things in some of their… “journo contracts,” NDA’s, I guess? Then you go, “Why the f*ck can’t I ask about this?” Because they don’t want to talk about it. So how much as a journalist; we’re (MMA On Point) not journalists, that’s the great thing about MMA On Point; we’re fans. We’re a fan channel. We got no journalstic background, so we don’t, we don’t accredit ourselves to being journalists and hold ourselves to a journalistic code. But if you are a journalist, and it tells you what you can and can’t say, or ask… what the f*ck is that about? Are you a journalist or are you, are you a yes man to the UFC? So that’s the tough thing about their organization”Tom Ransom on his recent experience particpating on the UFC media tours as part of the MMA On Point media team via True Gerodie Xtra
Post UFC 199/Helwani Governing?
No one has come out to the public and ever indeed criticized how the UFC handled media or journalists. Likewise, no journalist other than Ariel Helwani has come out against the UFC press practices. But the tide seems to have changed the moment Helwani broke the ESPN shackles from his wrist and debuted the newly dubbed “Ariel Heel-wani” and “Independent Helwani.”
MMA On Point has been one of the cornerstones of MMA YouTube for a while, which understandably earned them UFC Press credentials recently. They have no ties to any journalistic entity, which means they act on their own accord. Tom Ransom, an OG member of the MOP team, making his statement; it rings several bells and raises questions.
Is the UFC deliberately breaking the sole first amendment of free speech in the Bill of Rights provided for all living in this nation of the USA? Or are they just enforcing a rule to prevent the media from constantly overstepping their line? It’s understandable if the UFC tightened their ship and gave less access to the press after the UFC 199/Helwani fiasco. But do they need to make journalists sign a form of NDA to make sure nothing goes wrong again?
We really can’t tell how this plays out, as Tom recently spoke about this a few days ago. However, the MMA media landscape is slowly shifting, whether it’s for the better or worse… only time can tell.