A story that has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately is how Strikeforce’s press credential policies have changed now that Zuffa is running the show.
The most talked about issue seems to be the fact that ESPN.com’s Josh Gross and Loretta Hunt, representing CBSsports.com, both got denied credentials to the most recent Strikeforce event.
In an interview with USAToday.com’s Sergio Non, UFC President Dana White explains this does not mean they can not cover Strikeforce:
“Why can’t they [cover Strikeforce]? Nobody said they couldn’t. … They could buy a ticket. Listen — and credentials? I don’t have to credential anybody. Credentials aren’t mandatory. Credentials are at our discretion on who we want to credential.”
“It doesn’t stop them from covering the event at all. She could have absolutely flown out, got a ticket to the fight and covered the event, and then gone back to the host hotel and interviewed every fighter on Earth. There’s no way that she couldn’t have covered it. And same thing with Josh or whoever else who’s part of that thing.”
It may sound a little nuts, but there are websites out there right now who cover events this way. In the past though, it was primarily done for UFC events, not for Strikeforce, who have traditionally had fairly lax credentialing policies.
It is no secret White has had long-standing issues with both Hunt and Gross and insists it goes back to the early days. White said they both have done stuff that was “dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty – and very unprofessional.” He also says neither will ever be credentialed in a company that he runs, period.
Non counters White’s comments by saying if ZUFFA wants mainstream acceptance then doesn’t it make sense they should let mainstream outlets determine who covers their events. White vehemently disagrees:
“Believe me, if I really sit down — and maybe I’ll do it with somebody on camera sometime — and explain where these people came from, and how this beef really started, it’s actually pretty sickening. And a lot of people — if not everybody, including all the journalists — I think would absolutely 100% agree with me and take my side.”
“I don’t give a (crap). I don’t give a (crap) what anybody thinks. I don’t care. I can decide who gets a credential and who doesn’t. ESPN should be more careful about who they hire.”
What do you think guys, does White have a point, is it his right to decide who he grants free media access to or should it be completely up to the media outlets?
It is unknown whether or not CBSsports.com knew about White’s infamous video blog rant about Hunt when they assigned her to cover Strikeforce, but let’s just say there were no Christmas cards being exchanged between these two long before this.
Read Sergio Non’s full interview with UFC President Dana White at USAToday.com.
8 thoughts on “Dana White comments on Strikeforce press credential policy changes”
so the point of not credentialing them is what exactly? “I am taking my Ultimate ball and going to my Ultimate house”
I think the policies garbage, but personally I couldn’t give two shits about the reporters involved. Gross is a pretty good writer, but has had a long history of being anti-Zuffa. He has been changing his tune for the past year, but Dana probably sees it as too little too late.
Hunt is another story. Personally I feel she is the most overrated reporter/writer in all of MMA. Her style is not particularly entertaining, and her writing is generally for lack of a better word, bad. She has broken some stories, and the main crutch of the standoff between her and White a year or two back she was completely right about. However, she has also taken part in documentaries with clear anti-Zuffa messages, and written articles that were completely bias and not realistic (Carano vs. Cyborg bigger event in MMA than UFC 100 anyone?). SHe has come out and laid down her cards claiming she won’t be a pawn of the UFC and her writing will not be biased towards them, but on the other hand she routinely wrote overly favorable articles for organizations such as The IFL, Elite XC, and Strikeforce while they were looked at as Zuffa competitots. Honestly, what did she think was going to happen? Because the company on her nametag changes she was going to be allowed in?
All of this illustrates something very odd too me. CBSSports has not given a shit about MMA for a long while (currently their only thing covering MMA on it’s website is a link to the UG). Suddenly Zuffa takes over Strikeforce and they want to cover the event. They made no attempt to cover them even with Strikeforce being on a Viacom owned network in the past, so that to me points to CBS wanting to have a good relationship with Zuffa. Yet they hire one of the few reporters that have had a terrible relationship with the company in the past. Of course they will stand by her now because she is “their reporter”, but I think whoever is in charge is kicking themselves at the moment for not doing enough research into the past.
Gross has a long history of being anti Zuffa? Well you’ll have to provide specifics for that because his stories and opinions on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and his twitter comments pretty much say that’s BS.
Hunt is another story all together Dana hates her so his fans do also.
She’s a real reporter and that’s what White hates.
He wants yes men and that’s it covering the UFC.
Helwani,Davies, Iole, Cofield, etc.
If you have your own voice and opinion your out.
White/Zuffa are correct in their handling of whoever they want to cover the sport and as owners/principals of their promotion they…………and no other person should have the say on who they allow to cover their event. I covered at least 29 UFC events and was credentialed by them and also understand the pros/cons of media but also having my own promotion I understand the media I will or will NOT allow to cover events and on such a larger scale the UFC is right in that they should be allowed to set thier own policy. I have no problem with the UFC and Zuffa dictating poilcy on who they say is good to cover thier show. I do it all the time and it should be any “owners” right to do the same. There is no “automatic” when it comes to this topic.
RJB-As you have written his avenues as Twitter, SI, and ESPN I assume you haven’t followed his work for that long. During his time with Sherdog and beginnings with SI he wrote many pieces on Zuffa’s talent level being sub par(Compared to Pride and the aftermath), and their view on the sport as wrong (mainly the co-promotion argument). His views were not wrong at points, however they conflicted with Zuffa and he made his name as a reporter who clashed with them on many occasions. As I wrote above his view on the UFC has changed dramatically over the past year (or two).
There are degrees of Reporters. Not all of them are drowned in to two categories (either a shill for Zuffa or completely noble) as you alluded to earlier. Loretta has broken some big stories in the past with a lot of validity, but she has also penned pieces that have no business being called top tier work. She has also made decisions to support Zuffa competitors while calling into question many of Zuffa’s policies on multiple occasions.
As I said I think the policies are garbage. I just don’t really care about the effect it has on Hunt or Gross. There are plenty of good reporters who get into Zuffa events, not just the certain names that like to push the Zuffa agenda.
And I’m not a Dana White fan.
As is always the case with Dana White, he can do and say what he wants. However, that does not mean that his actions are not embarrassing, childish and small minded.
There are not any major sports organizations to stoop to this level and ban journalists they don’t like. When Mark Cuban wrote a blog about limiting the credentials of online writers, the sentiment of executives and journalists was essentially, “hmmmm.” White, and the UFC, have been dying for more coverage from mainstream media outlets. Many of those same outlets are learning of Zuffa’s credential policy due to this incident. Do you think this will inspire them to send writers to cover UFC events? Of course not.
Zuffa and Dana gain nothing from making this stuff a big deal. They only lose respectability.
This situation is extremely comparable to Dana’s video against Loretta Hunt. Can he say all that ridiculous stuff to a female journalist? Yes. Does it make him like look a bigoted buffoon? Yes.
Dana says one day it will come out and all will agree with him. I guess we need to take him at face value, we really have no other choice,because neither side is telling what really happened. It is his company and if he does not want to give someone that has been an ass to his company a free ticket I understand. It may be immature but he has that right.
It all seems to go back to Sherdog selling videos.