Yesterday, Jonathan Snowden at Bloodyelbow.com wrote a piece entitled "Dana White Brings Back the Zuffa Myth for an Ignorant Boston Press". Immediately upon reading the title, I got defensive regarding my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts (the ignorant remark). After being raised in the Boston suburbs and going to college at Northeastern University which is directly in the heart of the city, I know that the Boston media, specifically, the local sports media are some of the most educated journalists in all of sports. Hell, EPSN, the worldwide leader in sports, gets half their talent from raiding the Bay State. Peter Gammons, Mike Reiss and Howard Bryant are just a few writers that the Mothership stole from the Boston sports pages over the years because they are so good.
Snowden's main and only example of the "Ignorant Boston Press" only came from one source, which was two articles written by the Boston Herald's Ron Borges (one article was from four years ago when he worked for the Globe). Here is what you need to know about Borges. He's a joke around the Northeast (the man called for Patriot's coach Bill Belichick to be fired after the team won Super Bowls) and was once suspended for plagiarism. The reason he is still employed (maybe not for long, the Herald is going under) is because he is polarizing which is fantastic in a sports town like Boston that gets emotional over anything sports related. This is the reason why Borges sometimes overlooks little things like facts. But at the end of the day, people don't take him seriously. It's not ignorance, its just bad journalism on his behalf.
Here is my man issue with Snowden's article, it's hypocritical. He used one writer as his example without full knowledge of the writer or researching other interviews and columns that have been done by the local press about UFC 118. For example, He failed to mention the excellent interview Dana White did on the local sports radio station WEEI with the morning drive guys, John Dennis and Gerry Callahan and overlooked the fantastic interview Kenny Florian did later on WEEI with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley (and the countless other columns in the Globe and Herald). He labeled a whole city's sports media as ignorant after reading two articles by one writer.
More after the jump...
Now, I will completely admit that I'm defensive because this is my hometown, but this ignorant labeling could and probably has happened to other cities by MMA writers and bloggers. I am not sure how MMA writers and fans can expect the local sports media in every town to be well versed in MMA and its history when a UFC event only comes to town maybe once a year, especially when their main concentration needs to be about the local sports teams. Seriously, how many MMA only writers could do a well researched piece on an athlete from a different sport that only comes to town on an annual basis, especially, when they are on a deadline. It is going to be puff pieces and not an in-depth exposé that takes many months of research to pull off. It's not ignorance, it's crappy journalism by Borges and unreal expectations by the struggling Boston Herald.
What is also interesting is that Snowden crapped on a piece that was pretty glowing of Dana White and the UFC. Generally, when the UFC hits a new market, there are a flood of articles in the local papers about how MMA is too violent and the only appeal is the barbaric nature of it (does anyone remember the German and Australian press? Canadian doctors trying to outlaw MMA anyone?). Instead of negative articles trying to tear MMA down, the Boston media has done the opposite. They are welcoming UFC 118 and the influx of cash for the local economy that is going to come with it. Kenny Florian has basically had his balls washed for the past couple of weeks by the local sports journalists. How can that really be criticized when the sport is still trying to get mainstream acceptance and tear down the stereotypes of the sport everywhere it goes? These positive articles and press coverage should be celebrated by the MMA community.
So I say this to my fellow MMA writers, be grateful we are almost past the point where MMA isn't immediately denounced by local journalists when the UFC or another MMA promotion comes to town. Keep in mind that local writers aren't going to be as knowledgeable as people that cover MMA for a living so they might not have the in depth understanding about the history of MMA as the rest of us. Simply, just be excited that MMA is being looked at as a positive thing and not a negative one.