(“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.