Written by @NickRiznerMMA
New Look, Same Great Taste.
MMA Fighting underwent a massive rebranding this week, and I thought it would be a good time to pay homage to one of the sport’s great media outlets. After all, without their dedicated team of journalists and personalities, there’s no saying where MMA media would be today. And with that, so goes the perception of the sport.
Reputation is key.
In the clickbait culture that drives today’s online content, it’s easy to lose site of one’s journalistic integrity. You get rewarded for misleading the public or being the first to post an unconfirmed rumor. Time spent beefing up a story is time that could be spent writing three more simple ones. Page views, page views, page views. Quality be damned.
But there are still some who prefer a little more substance in their news stories, and for years, MMA Fighting has been the one to provide it.
From the creative stylings of Chuck Mindenhall and Shaun Al-Shatti, to the broadcasting personalities of Ariel Helwani and Luke Thomas, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded group of professionals under one roof, ultimately raising the bar for us all.
On a personal level, through MMA Fighting, I’ve found encouragement that there’s still a demand for this sort of writing. As so many sites have moved away from the long-form, the sport’s biggest website has fully embraced it, proving that it is not yet a lost art.
Chuck’s articles read like chapters of a novel, putting as much emphasis on the actual storytelling as the intrigue of the story itself. We are spoiled with mini-masterpieces of literature that ultimately get buried in the archives of an ever-moving news cycle. But there’s always a new post right around the corner and this is a blessing which we should not take for granted.
And then you’ve got Helwani, the crown jewel of responsible journalism. If he reports it, you’d better believe it’s true. His twitter is a must-follow for any MMA fan, particularly those who are in the position of reporting the news, and while I wish I could say there were more like him, truthfully, he’s one of a very small batch.
Not to mention the podcasting talent.
Helwani has done such an amazing job delivering hard-hitting Q&As with top-flight guests that the format is practically dead to the rest of us. He’s single-handedly changed the format of my show, in hopes that I can carve out my own niche within the MMA podcasting community. Because lord knows I’ll never be able to beat The MMA Hour head-to-head. Nor do I want to. Different is good and it’d be far too easy to play copycat if Helwani’s show wasn’t so flawlessly executed. I’m glad that was never an option for me.
To match the new look of the site, The MMA Hour has a brand new set (pictured above) in which an open floor plan provides amble room for in-studio guests. Never to be outdone, Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione drop by to test out the new furniture in the show’s debut, once again proving that it doesn’t suck to be Ariel Helwani.
But he’s earned it. They all have. If I’ve learned anything from my time in this space, it’s that direct competition is a thing of the past. To paraphrase an old adage by Joe Rogan, the internet is an unlimited web of content, and there’s no need to fight for the attention of readers. It’s much more beneficial to help each other out, especially in a sport like MMA. We’re all fighting for the respect of the main stream sports world and we get that respect by sticking together.
We’re the new kids on the block. We’re a little bit different, but if you take the time to get to know us, we’re actually pretty cool. However, cheapening our product with petty in-fighting or by posting fake stories only serves to hurt us all in the long-run. There will always be the latter at play. But websites like MMA Fighting directly counteract these ill-effects and give MMA media a good name. They deserve our full respect for that.
Oh and back to my original inspiration for this post… the new website looks slick. Good job.