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Tag: ESPN

Video: ESPN Attacks UFC Fighter Pay on ‘Outside the Lines’; UFC Releases Unaired Footage in Response

So here’s that ESPN Outside the Lines piece that got Dana White so hot and bothered. Even before it aired yesterday morning, the segment — and accompanying feature article by Josh Gross — drew criticism for its reliance on anonymous sources (as well as Ken Shamrock, who’s not exactly unbiased), and for downplaying the reality of the UFC’s business model, in which fighters are paid handsomely for performing well and drawing a crowd. Should a new UFC prospect deserve to make as much as an NFL player simply because he’s signed to the UFC? Lorenzo Fertitta doesn’t think so: “[L]ike any other company in America…You have to perform, to be able to get compensated.” There is also some mis-representation in the UFC’s $6,000/$6,000 system of payment for prospects (skip to the 5:03 mark), which ESPN seems to believe applies to all fighters who enter the promotion.

The segment does make a couple of solid points, pointing to the lack of a Muhammad Ali Act in MMA, and explaining that athletes in other major sports leagues are so well paid because they get 50% of the leagues’ revenues — while the UFC, according to “multiple sources” (all anonymous, of course), pays closer to 10% of its revenue to the fighters. Lorenzo Fertitta disputes this, saying it’s “in the neighborhood” of 50%, but since the UFC won’t disclose exactly what they’re earning (or exactly what they’re paying out to fighters, for that matter), it’s impossible to come away with a clear answer to this question.

Check it out and let us know what you think. After the jump, some unaired footage from the interview released yesterday by the UFC, in which Fertitta explains that the lowest-paid UFC fighter earns about ten times more than the lowest-paid boxer who fights on ESPN, so suck it.

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ESPN Segment On UFC Salaries to Air Sunday Morning; UFC to Counter By Releasing Unedited Lorenzo Fertitta Interview


(“If they aren’t with us, they’re against us, and in that case we will crush them.”)

The much ballyhooed ESPN: Outside the Lines (which we originally erroneously identified as E:60) episode dealing with UFC salaries and the assertion that the promotion is becoming a monopoly will air Sunday morning on the sports network and Dana White says he’s looking forward to it.

According to the UFC president, the company is preparing to counter-program the show with the uncut and unedited version of the interview with UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to expose ESPN and the outlet’s main MMA analyst Josh Gross, who contributed to the episode.

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ESPN’s MMA Live Host Jon Anik Joins UFC Broadcast Team


(Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland/ESPN)

In an effort to take some of the growing workload off of the backs of color analyst Joe Rogan and play-by-play man Mike Goldberg, the UFC announced today that it has added veteran sportscaster Jon Anik to its broadcast team.

Anik, who has anchored MMA Live since 2008 and hosted several ESPN pre-UFC shows, will be involved with the November 12 Fox broadcast in some capacity and will likely take the reins of commentating duties for the next season’s weekly live broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter on FX among other events.

“We’re very happy to have Jon as part of the team,” UFC president Dana White said after making the announcement at today’s UFC 137 press conference.

“It’s a dream come true. I believe the UFC’s a strong a brand as there is in professional sports, but what really drew me to this organization was the people behind it. I think as strong as this organization is, it’s the people behind it,” the 33-year-old Boston native said Thursday. “It’s a well-oiled machine, I just hope I don’t get in the way. I’m very excited to get started.

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Rampage Jackson Outs Training Camp ‘Spy’ During ESPN SportsCenter Interview


(Twit-cap via MMAConvert)

For one unlucky employee of MusclePharm, this Rampage vs. Jones “spygate” thing just got uncomfortably real. While doing a split-screen interview appearance for SportsCenter, the UFC light-heavyweight stars covered familiar ground about disrespect and training camp spying. But then, Quinton Jackson dropped a bombshell:

Jackson: We just found out who the spy was, and he’s terminated. He’s no longer working right now. So we found out exactly who the spy was…and it’s true, everything I said was true.

Jones: So who was the spy, Rampage? If you don’t mind answering that. Why don’t you tell the world who the spy was?

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Happy Ending Alert: Rad Martinez Scores Bellator Contract After ESPN ‘Outside the Lines’ Appearance

Hailing from West Jordan, Utah, Rad Martinez has compiled a 9-2 record as a professional MMA fighter while caring full-time for his father Richard, who suffered significant brain damage in a car accident twenty years ago. Martinez’s story caught the attention of ESPN, who produced a moving “Outside the Lines” video feature on the fighter, covering the multiple tragedies of his family life as well as his current struggle to balance his profession with his personal obligations. If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend taking 11 minutes of your day and checking it out above.

Thanks in part to the ESPN profile, Martinez has just gotten the first big break in his career, as Bellator announced this morning that they had signed the featherweight prospect to a fight contract. “Rad not only has an incredibly uplifting, powerful story, but he’s also a fierce competitor who will be a great addition to the Bellator family,” said Bellator chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney in a press release. “We’re proud to have Rad under the Bellator banner, and expect big things from him inside the Bellator cage.”

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Watch Your Back, Chuck: Suddenly a Company Man, Couture Eyes Post-Retirement Job With Zuffa

(“That’s a great question, Fabricio. Actually, Chuck and I have found that through careful investment research it’s possible to locate dependable mutual funds that can average as much as 12 percent annual growth over the long term.”)

Look, we gotta believe there are a limited number of fake jobs that Zuffa, LLC can possibly make up for aging former fighters as the company’s way of saying, “Thanks for getting punched in the head for so many years so Dana could buy a new Ferrari.” Chuck already has one, Matt Hughes obviously wants one and now MMA grandpa Randy Couture is making noise about wanting one too. Not for nothing, but if we were Liddell we might be getting a little nervous right now. I mean, if you could choose to have Couture as your phony Vice President of Business Development instead of THIS GUY, you’d do it in a heartbeat, right? Office politics can be a bitch that way.

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Facepalm of the Day: ESPN’s Franklin McNeil Gives Keith Jardine the Edge over Gegard Mousasi

(Well, that explains it.)

When message board commenters gush about how much better The Ultimate Fighter alumni are than the rest of the fighters in their respective division, we typically just give the little TUF noobs a proverbial pinch on the cheek and dismiss their uninformed opinions as being asinine as a result of the impeccable job the UFC and SPIKE did convincing them its true.

But when a so-called MMA expert like Franklin McNeil continually gives the edge to fighters who have appeared on the reality show in bouts against fighters who are widely considered more skilled and are thus ranked accordingly, it makes us shake our heads in disbelief that ESPN, the leader in sports coverage, gives this guy a forum to spew his skewed view of the sport under the guise of journalism. We may print a ton of opinion pieces here, but CagePotato isn’t proclaiming to be the CNN of MMA coverage and we’re clear in stating that editorials contain (sometimes cynically humorous) bias and are not to be taken as fact or even seriously in some cases. ESPN, however, is a different animal than CP.

Josh Gross, you have our sympathy.

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Video: MMA Live with Bjorn Rebney, Rashad Evans and Kenny Florian


(Video courtesy ESPN)

If you missed last night’s episode of MMA Live, not to worry, we got you covered, mang.

If you couldn’t be bothered to actually watch it and expect us to give you the pertinent stuff in a nutshell, we got you covered there, too.

Here’s what you missed:

- Kenny Florian says he would be interested in a fight with Jim Miller at UFC 129 in Toronto if his injured knee (which did not require surgery to repair a torn meniscus and ACL) heals in time.

- Bjorn Rebney says that the new Bellator deal with MTV will ensure that their events are not pre-empted if they go over their broadcast time, which will be the same each week.

- Rebney also said that despite his efforts the Strikeforce co-promoted Gilbert Melendez-Eddie Alvarez match-up is pretty much dead in the water at this point.

- Junior Dos Santos has been training his Muay Thai with Brandon Vera at Alliance in San Diego.

- Dos Santos has said that he is planning to keep his championship bout with UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (which is rumored to be slated for the April show in Toronto) standing.

- Both Rashad Evans and Ken-Flo believe that their teammate Georges St-Pierre will fight Jake Shields in Toronto.


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ESPN Host’s Remark That UFC is Starting Its Own TV Network Fuels Speculation That Announcement is Imminent

It may have been a speculative remark fueled by an interview Dana White did with Broadcasting Cable this week in which the UFC president intimated that his promotion was considering starting its own television network, but to many MMA news sites, an eight-second conversation the hosts of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption show had on the subject yesterday was enough to prompt speculation that this is the major announcement that will be made during today’s media conference call.

Here’s what White told BC’s Ben Grossman:

"A lot of people don’t realize we are in a half a billion homes around the world. You know all the things we’ve been through in the United States, but this sport travels well. Cricket will never be big here and the NFL will never be big around the world. But we are all human beings and fighting is in our DNA. We get it and we like it. So we are working on a couple moves now and should be in a billion homes around the world in the next couple months. Sports Business Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network and 4 out of 5 said us. They are right. I agree. That will happen within the next couple years.You are starting to see now ESPN is starting to cover us more. I think this is one of those things ESPN will probably kick themselves in 10 years saying, ‘We could have fucking had that.’"

It is possible that if it is true that ESPN got wind of the news, considering they have a deal to broadcast UFC events and to produce satellite pre and post-event MMA Live programs, but it’s more likely that PTI is just throwing the scenario out there to create dialogue on the possibility.

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Dana Vlog: The Boss Pals Around at the Worldwide Leader


(VidProps: YouTube/UFC)

One of the things the mainstream media loves to crow about Dana White is that he appeals to MMA fans because we view him as a “normal guy” who talks like we talk, dresses like we dress and isn’t afraid to speak his mind when the time comes. Of course, like a lot of things the mainstream media says about our sport, that’s total bullshit. There’s nothing “normal” about Dana White. Normal guys don’t take their kids to Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory for their birthdays, flit around on private planes or have sit downs with Mike Tyson.

In fact, one of the main reasons to like Dana White is that he’s not a normal guy. One of the reasons to like Big DW is that after the mainstream media told MMA fans to collectively go fuck themselves for, oh, about a decade Dana White smiled at them and basically said, “You’ll be begging me to be on your shows someday.” You know what? That cocky fucker was right, and it’s hard not to admire him for it. As evidence, witness DW’s new video blog, where he’s basically given the run of ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. “campus” for a day while he’s out promoting UFC 118.

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