(Video courtesy of YouTube/CaptainC01)
About a year ago during an email exchange with a member of the UFC’s PR team about an interview I was setting up I pointed out a terribly uninformed article about UFC 115 printed by one of the most influential newspapers in Canada. “I guess Canwest can kiss their media credentials goodbye,” I quipped.
Obviously the sarcasm of my joke was not evident, perhaps due to my lack of a “winky face” at the end, and I got back the following reply:
“As to Canwest, it is unfortunate that the reporter took this view on the event but it would be unfair, and unprofessional, to attempt to combat this view by denying them future credentials. The press are free to print an opinion that may reflect negatively upon us and we would hope to further educate them so that future articles would be more even handed.”
Apparently Dana White doesn’t share the same view.
News came to light today that several longtime members of the MMA media who have attended countless Strikeforce events have now been denied media credentials for this weekend’s Diaz vs. Daley event.
Josh Gross, Loretta Hunt and Jeff Sherwood were all shut out of Saturday night’s first major Zuffa-run Strikeforce show. All three have tumultuous past history with White and it looks like the UFC president isn’t one to forgive and forget.
Gross was denied the opportunity to ask a question on the Strikeforce conference call this week and Tweeted that it was a strange occurrence that had never happened to him. The incident should have been a clue that the former Sherdog editor and MMA reporter who left Sports Illustrated last year to take an role with ESPN would be shut out of press row for Saturday’s show. Gross snubbed White by declining his offer years ago to become the editor for UFC.com and proceeded to piss the Baldfather off even further by revealing the finalists of season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter before the show ran on SPIKE TV and by penning an open letter to him asking that he fix black eyes to the sport he helped perpetuate like the rampant steroid problem in MMA and the thuggish image perpetuated by fighters he employs. Ever since then, Gross has been on the outside looking in at Zuffa’s press row, but it really hasn’t changed the way he covers the sport.
Sherwood, the founder of Sherdog.com — the most visited and longest-running MMA site on the web, used to sell UFC DVDs through the site’s web store, but according to Sherwood, a disagreement about the profit margin his company should receive put him at odds with White and led to his credentials being yanked in 2005. In 2009 Sherdog received its credentials back, only to have them pulled again in 2010. When asked for an explanation by Gross, who was writing for SI at the time, White replied via text message: “None of your fucking business.”
Hunt, who now writes for CBS Sports and the LA Times, became the target of White while writing for Sherdog, when a story she wrote about managers and agents having their access to backstage at events restricted, which included *gasp* an anonymous source, went up on the site. White responded by verbally attacking Hunt in one of his video blogs posted on the UFC’s YouTube channel in which he referred to her as a “fucking bitch” and a “fucking moron” among other choice expletives.
Here’s the transcript of the rant for those who can’t watch the video at work:
“I just heard that there was another absolutely fucking retarded story written by Loretta Hunt. Loretta, you fucking moron, it is always been the policy at the UFC that the fighters get so many credentials and they can credential whoever the fuck they want, it can be their manager, whoever they want to have in the back with them, they can credential. And you are such a fucking genius, I actually, totally off track here, I heard your interview that you did too about where you said Rich Franklin was our poster boy and we were trying not to get him beat by Matt Lindland and all that fucking shit, too. Yeah, that’s why he fought Anderson Silva fucking twice because we were trying to fucking protect Rich Franklin to save him. Rich Franklin’s fought the best fighters in the world and the only reason I’m talking about this is just to show how fucking dumb you are, number one, OK? And it’s always been our policy, always, since fucking day one and you also put in the article apparently that you know I used to manage Tito and Chuck. Yeah? You want to know what happened when I managed Tito and Chuck? When I went to their UFC fights, I bought my own tickets. I paid for my tickets to go to the UFC and never was I allowed in the back, to go back there, what the fuck do I need to be in the back for if I’m his manager? What am I holding the mitts for them while they’re warming up? Am I back there talking strategy? No, I’ve done all the fucking business deals before they go there and my work is done, I go there and I watch the fucking fight. I don’t need to be in the fucking back and if I needed to be in the back that bad, then one of those guys would have credentialed me to get in the back, they would have used me as one of their credentials that they get, OK? 90% of the time, these fighters don’t want their fucking managers in the back. You don’t even know what the fuck you’re talking about and to write a story that says, “Oh, and here’s a quote from a guy who wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of repercussions from the,” SHUT THE FUCK UP!! Any fucking guy that won’t put his name on it, first of all, whoever gave you that quote is a pussy and a fucking f–t and a fucking liar and everything else whoever gave you that quote. Or maybe it’s you, Loretta, maybe you’re the liar writing bullshit fucking stories. Everything that comes out of your mouth is fucking stupid, OK? What else… Why would I give a shit who represents who? Yeah, there’s no doubt, there’s some guys out there that have managers that are absolute sleazy, dirty fucking scumbags, absolutely. There’s a lot of them, but there’s a lot of guys out that have a lot of good guys who manage them too, who I have no problem with. Who you fucking ask to manage you doesn’t bother me one bit. Ask fucking Rampage Jackson, OK? Ask Rampage Jackson if I ever said anything about any of his fucking managers or anybody who represented him. Hey Loretta, if you’re going to write a story, you fucking moron, at least make sure it’s fucking true and you have some facts and if you’re going to put some fucking quotes in there, get some quotes from people who at least have the fucking balls to put their fucking name on it. I mean, how do you write a story from a guy who fucking it’s like, hey it’s like in an interview where they fucking like put a black thing over the guy’s face and change his voice and shit, you fucking dumb bitch. Fuck you, Loretta Hunt!”
Hunt tweeted today that she too has been denied media access for the event that she was supposed to cover for her new gig at CBS Sports and now the outlet has chosen not to cover the event at all. If Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker calls CBS to revisit their relationship, you can bet they likely won’t be eager to negotiate a new deal with the Zuffa-owned promotion.
Anyway, fans have confronted White about the situation and he responded in typical fashion.