Over the last week two sources (BloodyElbow.com and FightOpinion.com) that I have the upmost respect for has been highly critical of how the “MMA media” on the Internet have covered the death of mixed martial artist Sammy Vazquez. The prevailing thought purveyed by both Luke Thomas and Zach Arnold has essentially been that many MMA media outlets have either chosen not to cover the story or devote light coverage to it out of fear of bringing negative attention to the sport.
I can’t speak for others but I can speak for myself.
I without question devoted light coverage to the story, only addressing the story with two posts on my ProElite.com blog. One post was published soon after I first learned about the story via a report I saw on FightNetwork.com and the second was another post this past weekend soon after FightNetwork.com issued a report that confirmed Vazquez’s death.
My reasons for devoting light coverage to the story had nothing to do with fear or bringing negative attention to the sport and was not an attempt to sweep the situation under the rug. It has to do with how I was taught to practice journalism.
For me to comment on this situation is a lose/lose proposition. This story should be about Sam Vazquez, not a story about how the MMA media covered the story. However, after listening to an interview with Luke Thomas that was conducted by JarryPark.com’s Ariel Helwani that referenced a e-mail I sent to Helwani in response to a question he had for me, I had to speak out as I do not feel my comments were represented clearly. I think Ariel does a great job with his site and this post is not intended as an indictment of his abilities, merely this is a forum for me to convey my COMPLETE stance on the situation on the matter.
Simply put, the e-mail comment that was read during Luke and Ariel’s interview was not presented in its full and proper context. I feel Helwani presented my comment as minimizing the death of Vazquez because he was not a major name in MMA. That wasn’t what I was saying.
Not even close.