("’People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy.’ That’s Friedrich Engels, bitch. Deal with it." PicProps: Business Week.com.)
Remember that report from earlier this month where Dana White alleged that some MMA journalists were either being so influenced by ad revenue that they were cooking the books on fighter rankings or, even worse, out-and-out selling their votes to the highest bidder? Well, despite the fact that story is obviously totally fucking ridiculous, Big DW is sticking to it. In fact, he’s taking it a step further, implying this week in an interview with MMAJunkie – yes, that one – that MMA websites shouldn’t be considered “news sites” if they (gasp!) try to make money off their work.
“My biggest beef with a lot of these MMA websites is that these guys are for-profit websites,” White told the Junkie during one of his trademark, seemingly only partly thought-out rants. “They’re not [expletive] news sites. They’re for-profit websites."
These comments come on the heels of White’s earlier suggestion that the MMA media is somehow “in it for the money” and the sentiment itself isn’t particularly surprising, given that the UFC brass has historically had a tough time grappling with the idea that the media doesn’t work for them and isn’t responsible for advancing their agenda. However, the above statement is a bit more troubling than all that, because it seems to show that despite his own vast fortune, White also may not understand the basic workings of free-market capitalism.
If he did, he’d know that every privately-owned media organization in the country – and most of the world – are for-profit ventures. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS, The Associated Press, the fucking Wenatchee World, are all charged with the task of making money of their owners and paying their employees a wage in exchange for services. Actually, the notion that newspapers and magazines need to turn a profit to survive has been causing a bit of a stir lately. Maybe you’ve heard about it.
Truth is, as media members we are, as White contends, in it for the money. We are as much “in it for the money” as a plumber, a house painter or, say, an MMA fight promoter. We’re in it for the money because we have to be, because it’s one of the basic tenets of our economic system. It’s not perfect, but it’s how things have been working around here for, oh, about the last 230-odd years. If Dana White has a problem with it he should take it up with Adam Smith. There are other ways to run a country, but they’ve so far yielded mixed results.
But given his quote, I’m not sure how White thinks the media works in America or where guys like Rick Reilly and Bill Simmons – who DW was talking to when he first brought up this topic — get their substantial monthly paychecks. The idea that MMA websites or any other media outlets would somehow function as nonprofit organizations is, well, laughable.
The real issue at hand is that White is continually irked that Fedor Emelianenko remains at the top of many sites’ heavyweight and pound-for-pound lists and when he’s irked he often says things without thinking them through. Honestly, he might have a point about Fedor’s fitness as the No.1 fighter in the world but instead of alleging a vast conspiracy, here’s a different idea: Whether right or wrong, the MMA writers who continue to vote Emelianenko No.1 do it because they actually believe he’s the best. Make peace with that. If any of them are selling spots in their rankings they’re complete scumbags and excellent swindlers, given that MMA polls are meaningless and are only offered so fans have something interesting to argue about in forums and comment areas. Who in their right minds would pay anyone for faking that?
Furthermore, I have the sneaking feeling that if the UFC were to suddenly sign Fedor, most of White’s gripes about MMA rankings would suddenly disappear. The UFC’s selective memory is pretty good like that.
As a side note and regardless of the job he thinks the MMA media is doing, doesn’t it seem like White, of all people – the former aerobics instructor and alleged producer of dramatic television series (Ed. Note: Hey, whatever happened to that Irish mob show, anyway? That sounded really great.) – should be a little more understanding of other dudes trying to make a "for-profit" living? I guess when you’re a multimillionaire whose riches were built largely on the physical abilities of others, it has a way of changing your perspective.