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Business As Usual Update: Things Are About to Get Real ‘Professional’ on Strikeforce Press Row

(“Attn journalists: Instead of writing that Fedor ‘lost’ we’d appreciate it if you would use the phrase Fedor ‘almost won.’ Thank you, that is all.” Pic: All Elbows)

Since we figure our readers don’t spend a ton of time poking around the “fine print” section at the bottom of UFC.com, we assume very few of you noticed recently when Zuffa, LLC quietly began imposing its “Professional Journalism Policies” on Strikeforce. All told, the policies (which you can read right here, if you really want) are almost 1,500 words of dense legalese that spell out what it takes to be deemed worthy of a Zuffa  (or in this case “Forza, LLC,”) press credential and the rules writers and photogs will abide by in order to stay in the company’s good graces. Basically, it’s two full pages that boil down to one big “Or else!” for MMA journalists. While this may be Business As Usual at UFC events, it charts a bold new direction for how Strikeforce will deal with the media moving forward.

We won’t bore you with many of the details, because it’s all pretty standard: No shooting video of the fights, no cheering on press row, etc., etc..  The policies themselves aren’t much different from the ones imposed on journalists by other major sporting events. The difference here is that the people making the rules have historically been fairly heavy-handed in their dealings with the media. The UFC certainly hasn’t been afraid to hand out indefinite bans to some of MMA’s best known and most “professional” journalists, many times for seemingly very petty reasons. This latest development also means that a few major MMA outlets that were formerly credentialed by Strikeforce (including some of the sport’s most veteran journalists) likely won’t be welcome anymore. Any way you slice it, that’s scary news.

One of those guys is longtime MMA reporter Eddie Goldman of NHB News. Goldman’s been covering combat sports for a number of media outlets for so long the name of his company predates the term “MMA,” yet he claims he was one of the first people dropped from the preferred journalists list when the UFC absorbed Strikeforce. He also came off kind of pissed about it when he sounded off recently on an online message board:

“I was the first one Zuffa fucked around on credentials. Since Zuffa bought Strikeforce, they took me off the Strikeforce media list …,” Goldman wrote. “Now they only want shills, zombies, fools, tools, morons, slaves, stenographers, hacks, and flacks to cover their shows. This is worse than it is even in boxing.”

You see the problem here, of course. As Zuffa continues to tighten its grip on the MMA world, it’s power and influence over the media also grows. In banning some of our best known and most respected journalists, Zuffa has effectively tried to marginalize their voices. At the same time, the company has created an environment where the reporters who do have credentials know full well they better play by the “rules” (and abide by the notoriously erratic whims of the UFC brass), lest they join the ever-growing throng of people unwelcome at the most important events in MMA.

Look, we kind of understand why the promotion doesn’t want us around, but trying to pretend the difference between credentialed and un-credentialed media at UFC events has anything at all to do with “professionalism” is pretty obviously a farce. On the contrary, it has everything to do with who the UFC keeps on its personal “enemies” list. Knowing that  list grows in number and importance each day is – if you don’t mind us saying – a little spooky.

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SnackDaddy- April 6, 2011 at 12:43 am
Cagedpotato, assholes.
JustUnion- April 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm
shut up about weather or not it's good for the fighters. if the fighters want good pay and medical they can stop fighting and get real jobs. They get to do what they love for a living, isn't that enough. Not everything needs to be union. fighting seems like the last place a union should be. if the better i fight the more money i make, Im going to fight better. But win or lose i make the same, then who cares.
twoleftfeet- April 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm
I think the ufc is starting to hurt mma more than they help it. I was sick to my stomach when I read that zuffa bought strikeforce. I already thought a lot of the lesser known fighters are underpaid/compensated. They should at least have medical coverage for the duration of training camp. The money is there, it just doesn't make it past danas greasy mitts that often. Then there are the fees sponsers have to pay the ufc so they can give money to the fighters. If you are going to underpay fighters to the point that they have to be walking billboards you shouldn't Take a cut or limit the pool of potential sponsors. That is some mafia type shit. Pretty soon the ufc will start charging media for the privlidge of covering the ufc. Sorry for the rant ill stop now.
ReX13- April 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm
NomadRip >> OOPS. Yeah, use the contest address. Still retarded, you guys.
Onan- April 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm
Now I've never been a UFC apologist but I just read the policy statement that was linked and I couldn't find anything particulary onerous or unusual in it. The standard statement regarding use of event visuals and expected conduct while at a given event.
As far as I can see the policy statement by itself is not indicative of greater restrictions at Strikeforce events.
NomadRip- April 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm
@Rex I'll check which one it went to. I think it was contest-at like the post said.
PERPATRAITOR- April 5, 2011 at 11:35 am
War Diaz! (fuck it)
danomite- April 5, 2011 at 11:28 am
I'm surprised that Zuffa even paid you money for that Strikeforce ad at the top of the page. Maybe they don't know about it yet. Surely this check is going to bounce. At the very least the memo line probably says "for blowjobs".
El Guapo- April 5, 2011 at 11:05 am
Sexy Rexy goes incognegro in this summer's blockbuster... "Undercova Brotha 2"
RearNakedSpoon- April 5, 2011 at 10:46 am
Create an MMA journalist union and boycott Zuffa promotions until they play fair.
Or just report from the sideline and tell it like it is.
SnackDaddy- April 5, 2011 at 10:46 am
Maybe you should change the name of your site to cagedpotato. :)
Uppercut Magnet- April 5, 2011 at 10:42 am
Great post. Way to make sure all that "free cagepotato" shit goes out the window.
ReX13- April 5, 2011 at 10:38 am
NomadRip >> I checked the Spam file, all i see is a bunch of kanji and an email from Khaddafi's lawyer trying to send us $26M. Try the feedback addy, yo.
ReX13- April 5, 2011 at 10:36 am
Clearly, we're not going to get a pass into the fun, but it's cool.

"Nothing is more underground than a potato."®
NomadRip- April 5, 2011 at 10:34 am
You are not gonna get freed by writing the truth. Dance, Monkey! Dance!

And where's my shirt, bitches? I am probably going to be at an MMA event in Tampa on the 15th. I need to represent the CP nation. Check your spambox for my email.
ReX13- April 5, 2011 at 10:34 am
Fred Taco >> i'd rock it.
destinationblood- April 5, 2011 at 10:21 am
you guys were able to cover the strikeforce heavyweight press conference in nyc right? With this weekends strikeforce event going on, will you be able to go to their press conferences now? have you tried? are you banned? even if you arent planning on attending it would be a good experiment to atleast call and see if you can get in or if youre already blacklisted from the fun.....
anarchy25- April 5, 2011 at 10:17 am
Cagepotato needs to learn to play the game, your not a real news website anyway
stidge- April 5, 2011 at 10:17 am
I remember when this site was pretty good and funny, now its "all doom and gloom".

Anyone with half a brain knows that the business as usual will last as long as UFC wants it too. Also, if Strikeforce was in the position to sell to the UFC it probably wasn't doing very well on the books, as i recall its financial backers that own a hockey team wanted out of the MMA business. So the option was for it to fade away like Affliction or sell the company.
PELF- April 5, 2011 at 10:14 am
It's a small step from monopoly to fascism
Fried Taco- April 5, 2011 at 10:09 am
This one has ReX written all over it!
Fried Taco- April 5, 2011 at 10:08 am
Just buy a Tracey Lee mask and you can get in no problem!
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