Dana White’s latest launch on a member of the media has once again generated a great deal of discussion. While the choice words White had for Sherdog’s Jake Rossen (video under the jump) were less venomous than his views on his colleague Loretta Hunt, the President of the UFC was still spitting fire, and his words have ignited numerous discussions about the role of the media in the sport.
In discussing the situation with my colleague Zak Woods of Watch Kalib Run on the site’s latest Cage Cast, it seems that one word is causing all the commotion. The word is promote, as in “instead of promoting the fight this weekend– instead of promoting the fight this weekend, this guy is f***ing arguing with me about how big MMA is going to be in the next ten years and why it won’t be as big as I say it is. Are these mother f***ers into Mixed Martial Arts!?”
As ridiculous as it is that we no longer are surprised or alarmed by the profanity-laced rants of the head of the largest organization in the sport, the fact that media members are playing the semantics game wins.
Though I don’t have a Being John Malkovich portal into Dana White’s mind, thereby precluding me from knowing exactly what he meant when he uttered his f-bomb-infused rant in Rossen’s direction, my assumption is that he didn’t mean promote in the sense many are taking it to mean.
Something tells me that the consummate and ever-ready promoter extraordinaire isn’t looking for Jake Rossen or any other member of the Fourth Estate to strap on a sandwich board and patrol the sidewalk outside their offices, shilling for the next big event on the MMA calendar.
For a population that makes a living through the use of words, some sure are stuck on stupid with their fixation on a singular definition of the word promote.
Personally, I have a sneaky suspicion that Dana White was gunning for something more along the lines of this secondary definition of the word when he vulgarly wondered why Jake Rossen was busy detracting from White’s thoughts on the future instead of promoting UFC 108:
promote (verb): further the progress of; support or encourage.
Stripping away the insults and unprintable words, the basis of White’s frustration with Rossen is that instead of discussing the upcoming fights, he used his blog space to pick apart the statements White made earlier in the week about making MMA the biggest sport in the world over the next ten years.
Basically, Jake Rossen wrote an entire piece about how Dana White’s blueprint for the successful domination of the sporting world by MMA over the next decade will not happen.
Repeat: a guy who pulls a bi-weekly (monthly?) paycheck from a Mixed Martial Arts website used his platform to break down why the sport that pays his bills will not have the successful impact the President of the largest company in the sport hopes to see.
Hypothetically speaking: Stephen A. Smith decided to pen a piece detailing how the NBA will never become bigger than football, and isn’t as global as David Stern likes to believe it is.
If “The Commish” was to release a statement questioning Smith’s stance, essentially wondering why a guy who has made his name through the very sport he’s picking apart would do such a thing, would David Stern come under the kind of fire Dana White has this week?
It’s not the media’s job to sell an upcoming fight or help market a specific fighter; there are various Marketing and Public Relations departments throughout the sport charged with those responsibilities.
In addition to asking the tough questions people want answered, part of the job of the media certainly includes sharing our expert opinions on the biggest stories with the general public.
But as the people in a position to communicate news and views on the sport we all love to the masses, doesn’t working to further the progress of Mixed Martial Arts make more sense that putting together 500 words on why MMA will never be the biggest sport in the world?
Thanks for the treat, I’m going to bite your hand now…
Is Dana White shooting the moon with his global domination theory?
Of course he is; he’s Dana White- that’s what he does. He lives in a world of hyperbole, he curses excessively and he sells his product however he can; lather, rinse, and repeat.
Promoting the sport doesn’t mean ignoring the news in favor of running UFC 108 ads and marketing materials passed off as journalism; it means helping the sport grow, by using every influential platform we have to educate people, cultivating new fans and potentially new partnerships, while reminding those who are already hooked that the sport they love will continue to expand and improve.