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March 18, 2012

How important is Press to your MMA events?

We here at want to know how important is the press at an MMA event.  There seems to be a huge difference in the way press are treated from one promotion to another.  This of course puts us in an extremely precarious position as it ultimately effects how we are able to review the fights and the fighters.  As both fans and loyal MMA practitioners ourselves we feel as though our goal is to shine the best light on a grueling sport without pandering to or flattering the promoters.  This allows us to concentrate on the fighters which are the only reason to go to a show.  In two years we haven't been to a show as bad as the CFX show we attended last night.  Not only did the card fall apart at the last minute, but there were added expenses not mentioned in any promotional material.  Namely the $10 fee to park out in a sand pit a five minute walk from the venue.  Then there was the press area.  Our slogan is "Getting you closer to the cage" and as you can see from the photos posted here I was able to get you there, but Linda Shields didn't think it was important enough to let us stay there.  She opted rather to place us out in general seating with the understanding that we didn't pay for our seats so if she needed the seats for fans that paid to see the fights we would be moved to an unspecified location.  I assume she meant to the back of the room with the standing fans.  Technically I paid for that seat and then some when I put $60 dollars in my tank , drove 2 1/2 hours, paid 5 dollars in tolls, and then paid to park in a sand lot.

As a pressmen I have learned to be grateful and humble in the pursuit of great photos and to share the cage with all present not just thinking of myself and what is best for my view.  I usually find a spot near the apron and behind a corner post to eliminate the possibility of obstructing views of the fans outside the VIP circle.  No one has complained yet at any show not even the judges, refs, and various commissioners that I often perch near.  I usually try to get in the locker room areas in order to give you all the behind the scenes look at MMA that often gets overlooked.  Not at CFX though.  Apparently CFX has no need for media coverage.  I was denied locker room access, I was removed from the cage side, and then when I thought "ok, I will just get it done from my seat" the only other photographer there decided she was going to stand in front of me along with the MSAC Chairwoman, Latisha Adams and a woman I presume to be her sister (as they were strikingly similar in appearance) for the next four bouts.  The  three women stood in front of paying fans and the press area effectively blocking any line of sight view of the cage forcing everyone to watch the matches on the jumbo trons which sucked because the A/V folks sucked and the lighting was to bright so you could hardly see the projections.  Alerting Mrs. Shields (once taught-ed as being the best female promoter in the state and now I would question that title) got me no where.  She thought it would be funny to literally physically move the photographer 4 feet to the left and then ask me if that was better knowing that it was just a shit head move I just shrugged my shoulders.  The photographer approached me and offered her advice on the situation.  She told me to just stand up at the barrier with her and that would make Linda take me seriously as a professional.  Seriously, I should stand up and block more of the cage for those watching behind me?  Yeah and about the Commish that Linda decided shouldn't have to sit in her cage side seat, you know the one right up next to the cage where I should have been, lol, the best seats in the house.  Well I decided I would ask her you know since she wasn't using them if The Boss and I could have them instead. She got the hint and went back to them after blocking four solid fights including a K.O. which no one behind her could fully enjoy due to the blocked view.  I'm sure my question embarrassed her and for that I'm sorry, but why didn't any of the security staff, Linda, or Gary ask her to sit themselves.  Oh I think we know why.  It's the commisioner and they are the most important people in the room, except they aren't the fighters are and the fans who traveled to see them are in my opinion.  The commission is a government entity and as we have this aversion to holding government to the same standards as normal people we get exactly what I experienced last night.  Trash. The Boss and I left after Jen Rivera showed us why you should always question the hype.  Her so called 135lb title fight was a joke.  Peggy beat her ass for two solid rounds and then Jen couldn't answer the bell because she has no heart.  A fighter with a few easy wins gets a shot at a title, why?
So here are a few examples of what your shows could look like to potential spectators and how they look when you don't think it's important to consider how the press view it and share it with 10,000 viewers a month.


CFX Press seating

So How Important is Press?

Only as important as you make it. I have been to shows I.E.: Cage Titans, where I would and have sat in the actual general seating area with fans all around writing my review and snapping photos. At AFO we are seated above the seating area so that we have a clear unobstructed view of the cage and are up to the cage for photos. At PFC both the photogs and writers are always cage side. At Warrior Nation press are always at good tables close to the cage and never made to feel as though they are taking away from the show. CES has the writers at a table with unobstructed views of the cage and the photographers are cage side. Reality shows its love for the press with an entire section for press and photographers although it is not cage side, but they make up for it with its catered food and high end fights. I hope the above promotions know that we appreciate what they do and that our only goal is to enhance their events by recognizing the efforts and considerations that go into the actual show. Good luck to all this 2012 season and to the fighters, take into consideration the organizations that you fight for. Some are not worth your talents.

 The Artist, Joe Leonard, wrote this rant.  That is all...

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