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Loretta Hunt Says CBS Sports May ‘Cool’ on MMA Coverage Due to Zuffa’s Bush League Media Policies

(My God, the muckraking! Pic: Strikeforce)

After being denied media access to cover last weekend’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley for CBS Sports (and apparently buying a ticket and going anyway), longtime reporter Loretta Hunt conducted a video chat with fellow scribe Jason Probst on Monday to discuss the ongoing banishment of many of the sport’s best-known journalists from events controlled by the UFC. We missed it, but since Zuffa, LLC’s brazen efforts to marginalize media it doesn’t deem friendly enough to its own interests is perhaps the biggest story consistently ignored by “credentialed” MMA sites (for obvious reasons, right?), we figure some of it needs repeating.

For starters, Hunt claims the honchos at CBS Sports are not impressed that Zuffa continues to conduct media relationships like a 13-year-old girl deciding who can ride the pony at her birthday party. It appears that heavy-hitters like CBS are used to a certain amount of professionalism from the entities they cover and the UFC obviously sorely lacks in that department. Zuffa has been such a pain in the ass that Hunt says CBS might just chuck it the fuck-it bucket and stop covering MMA entirely. So, that seems counterproductive. Her quotes – with props to Fight Opinion for the original transcriptions — and some of our own musings are after the jump …

“CBS Sports I’m told hasn’t really covered MMA for the last year or so,” Hunt says. “I’m told (it’s) because they’ve had some difficulty with getting interviews and things like that in the past, so they kind of cooled off from it. This was the first show that they were going to do in quite some time. They brought me in, assigned me and then we were turned down (for press credentials). So, CBS Sports decided that they just weren’t going to do any coverage at all of the UFC. They don’t want to be told who they can send to their events and who they shouldn’t send to their events representing (CBS) … I’m sad this door closed. I mean, a door really did close. CBS Sports is not going to look at MMA for at least a little while.”

To hear Hunt tell it, it sounds like CBS’ struggles with the UFC date back a few years to when the network was airing EliteXC programming and simultaneously trying to branch out into some overall MMA coverage. As they are apt to do, the folks over at Zuffa allegedly took a hard line, she says, denying CBS interviews and access to its events. In response, CBS naturally decided to just take its ball and go home rather than put up with a bunch of BS from some niche sport few of its viewers had even heard of before. That decision stood until last week, Hunt says, when CBS sort of weirdly decided to get off the bench to cover a Strikeforce event.

“This was (CBS) kind of dipping their toe back in the (MMA) water again and, you know, something like this happens again and it just reinforces the UFC and their take on the mixed martial arts media and them trying to decide who they want to sent and who they don’t want (sent to their events) …,” Hunt says. “(Zuffa) wants to move into being a mainstream sport and a mainstream league at this point … (but) what’s happening (with the media) is extraordinary and makes us seem kind of hokey, you know, mixed martial arts compared to all the other sports. What other big promotion do you know that doesn’t let the media in?”

She’s right about that. It actually does make MMA look totally amateurish for the biggest company in the sport to act so petty and, frankly, immature. For awhile now, we’ve wondered how Zuffa’s cutthroat and unorthodox (read: pretty crazy) way of conducting business would mesh with its push for mainstream acceptance. For a while there the mainstream media thought Dana White was pretty cute, what with all the retro T-shirts and the cursing, but maybe that’s slowly starting to change.

It’s also interesting to note that by denying CBS Sports access to its event – again, because a part owner of the company has a personal beef with a reporter – it was essentially denying a credential to Viacom, the media giant that owns CBS (which allegedly still has to decide if it will renew a broadcast deal with Strikeforce), Showtime (which aired the event), SpikeTV (which regularly shows UFC events) and MTV (which is just starting to test the water with other MMA events).

Looked at in that context, it just makes the UFC look almost unthinkably stubborn. Maybe the companies in question are so huge and separate that turning down CBS won’t make too many waves. Still, if we were a junior vice president somewhere at Viacom and we found out about this? We probably wouldn’t be thrilled. We might even think about writing a memo to someone above us. Or at least dictating a memo to our secretary while we tossed a rubber ball against the wall with our feet up on the desk. At some point you have to wonder, is the UFC’s small-mindedness really worth the trouble?

Cagepotato Comments

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stidge- April 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm
Quote From Loretta Hunt:

"This was the first show that they were going to do in quite some time. They brought me in, assigned me and then we were turned down (for press credentials)."

The way this reads is that she was hired on as an MMA Reporter for CBS. They should have checked that their reporter had previous issues with the UFC/Zuffa or perhaps she should have divulged that information to them. The conversation could have went something like this.
Loretta Hunt "Hey CBS execs, Dana White and I have had some bad blood in the past and we might want to check that it has blown over, the guy is known to hold grudges and in the past refered to me as a dumb bitch"

CBS execs "Oh, might be a good idea for us to look for another reporter to cover MMA events."

The way these quotes read she is comming off as somewhat vindictive in retaliation for the past interaction with White, kinda like CagePotato lately...
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dranokills- April 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm
Actually Lorreta CUNT, MMA and UFC wont miss a beat and will still get all the publicity they need thru REAL sports networks like ESPN.
So does it matter that cbs sports is cooled down on MMA or that you even have a fucking job? no, the answer is no LOWWWretta.
boo hoo keep crying. and everyone else who is cock blocked by big bad Dana, boo hoo, don't piss off important people....learn to live with the fact you did.
Kuato- April 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm
Can someone explain what CP is so bitter about? They are turning in to bloody elbow with these articles crying about UFC being big meanies every other day. Are they mad that they don't get free tickets or something? If CP wants to be treated like real journalists, why do they have an article featuring tournament style brackets to vote on the hottest women in mma? Just stick with the comedy, and leave the boring bitching articles to other blogs.
Dynamo- April 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm
It's her job, don't need to act like your in the terrible two's and have a tantrum. Wouldn't be this article anyways if they conducted themselves professionally. Hell, they ban people in the media just for talking about that old Loretta story. If he just dealt with it like a normal person would in the first place.. No problems. Better learn to deal with criticism; can't send Joe everywhere are try talk over anyone in the room or on a video conference.
RwilsonR- April 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm
jimbonics wins! That is all.
ccman- April 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm
Not reading every word but points.
A. she sounds as whiney as the UFC. might be a match made in heaven. Plus she is as bad as Yahoo's Mags in reporting. Not a huge loss from Media row.
B. All sports limit access, maybe not to CBS, but they all decide who can cover and who cannot. Start a form of media and apply for a press pass. Hell boxing has done this for 75 years to many major news outlets.
C. CBS covers MMA? where?
D. I honestly thought the NHL should have done this to ESPN for 6+ years now. Most media people act like they are one of the guys at the beginning of Cobb. Way to many asshats who are looking for revenge for being picked last. Look at Bens resolve to be outside looking in for an example. "free cage potato" is kinda funny but not the same as calling the UFC and saying "look we kinda screwed up and for that we are sorry. how do we make this right?"
As much shit as is heaped on DW, one thing is for certain, if you try to make amends he is a put it behind him kinda guy (tito anyone?)Rubbing his face in it just festers the wound.
agentsmith- April 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Hunt's with CBS now? She's been passed around more than a groupie at a Motley Crue show. Maybe that should tell us something.
Hesh to Steel- April 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm
Mildly surprised that people actually think that other major sports leagues employ media policies that are as draconian as these.

On second thought, not surprised at all since internet comments sections have always been the natural habitat of the moron.
steveharde- April 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Do all of you think other events can't do it big??? Pride did it for a long time. The way ufc got big was off reality tv. it is genius. make people believe they "know" a fighter. therefore more invested into the UFC organization. I have been to a ufc event and a strikforce event. STRIKEFORCE was HANDSDOWN better live. ufc better tv production. 93% of fans out there are retarded when they watch mma. Do we all really want Dana White deciding what we watch? cuz really he is a white trash cadio kickboxer. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.... good sweat ladys!!! fag
jimbonics- April 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it a respectable journalist, it makes it Gus Johnson.
haterade- April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm
I lol'd at "chuck it the fuck-it bucket"
That is all
Stak40- April 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm
Answer me this: why the fuck would CBS hire Loretta Hunt and assign her to an event promoted by Zuffa that she has been banned from for years?
BossNasty- April 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm
Damn Eggs, sounds like Stak40 doesn't think very highly of you. I would say at this moment UFC does equal MMA from a standpoint of level of competition and most secure future as a profession. You never heard anyone say ever since I was a kid I wanted to fight in strikeforce. What other MAJOR mma production is there?
rogerw- April 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm
It's crazy. Not even the FIFA, which is notorious for holding grudges against specific journalists (and far far more influential than the UFC) does that. I've never heard of anything like it in any of the sports I follow. Certainly it's common for journalists to get preferential or inferior treatment in regards to interviews and such, but banning them from covering the events? That just isn't done.
Boo- April 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm
Loretta Hunt got banned from cageside for being an ugly whore.
ArmFarmer- April 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm
Why is everyone jumping to the conclusion "fire loretta hunt!?" They don't have to fire her, they just need to send a different fucking journalist to the event.
Stak40- April 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm
Eggs, eat a dick. I dont get a fuck about DW-UFC or ignorant bitch made pussies like you. I like fights,whether it be MMA, Boxing or your two crack head uncles on the corner. I never said i think DW is doing the right thing all i simply am saying is when every move you make is putting more dollars in your pocket, it easy to say fuck you to those who arent contributing to your cash flow in the first place. Will it DW and the UFC in the long run...will see, as of now i am sure there are tons of other successful networks out there. AND, you Loretta Cunt loving fuck boy, if CBS does want to get on some MMA=UFC, like it or not, they can drop yo pussy buffet and hire someone else.
edhedicus- April 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm
She is bitter, and sorry CP, you are bitter too. CBS will cover MMA because the viewing audience will want to see it and that gets advertisers. Whatever she says, it is jaded and one sided.
So CP, please just continue your great stories on fighters and events, and stop being bitter about your fuck up (the Ariany pics) and get on with life.
NFL, NBA, MLB, and th NHL all control the press to a much greater degree. And if a player is a douche and screws up, then they are big enough and powerful enough to manage the media and spin it to their favor (uh, Michael Vick?). With much growth still needed in MMA in general, controling the media access is vital to keep reporters that have not been entirely honest (lookin at you Loretta) from reporting things that skew the true image of MMA.
Keep it in perspective folks, this is guys punching each other, not managment of our government. If the Bald Father wants a particular image for his company, so be it.
So keep up the good work on the stories on fighters and fights, please.
ThomasEnsign- April 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm
Cbs should just back bellator and put them on network tv. See how Dana likes them apples.
Chilly16- April 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Man, how the mighty have fallen. Siding with hunt. LOL you guys are getting desperate huh? Dana white is such a mean bully.waaah When I was growing up people dealt with bullying differently. Now they just tell the teacher and sue the school. The US has become a country of mostly fat, lazy, pussies. I'll bet this website will be gone by the end of the year. This website's most popular content is written by a psychopath loser who is in jail. Maybe its time to make some changes. And I don't mean bringing back the fight picker.
O Chan- April 12, 2011 at 11:54 am
Guys, little thing in this article needs to be corrected, CBS and Viacom are no longer part of the same media conglomeration. CBS and Viacom split back in 2005 and both are two separate and independent companies. Again, to sum it up, CBS and Viacom are not the same company, Viacom controls MTV and Spike. CBS owns Showtime. They are no longer the same company. It's like saying ABC and News Corps are under the same owner. Not true.
Fried Taco- April 12, 2011 at 11:52 am
Viacom should just buy the UFC. Problem solved.
El Guapo- April 12, 2011 at 11:45 am
^Is what I'll say when... y'know.
El Guapo- April 12, 2011 at 11:45 am
Free at last, free at last. MMA gods almighty we're free at last!