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State of 5 Oz. Address: Welcome to the new site

As you can tell by now, we have launched 5 Oz. of Pain 3.0.

This new design signals the end of our blog format and the beginning of a new format and philosophy that is more in line with a standard web magazine format.

Why the change? Well, when I started this site I had almost no ambition for the site. As I’ve said before, the decision to blog about MMA was nothing more than a hobby for me at first. I had no intention of running this as a business. If I had intended to run this site like a business, I would have done a lot of things differently.

So while this started as nothing more than a labor of love, something happened: people actually started reading what I wrote. From there things grew and I brought in Matt Cava and Adam Morgan as co-owners to help run the site.

Our staff grew last month with the addition of David Andrest, who got us back online after our former hosting company kicked us off their servers with no warning. I had been friends with Dave but after he came through in the clutch for us and knowing the challenges that still faced the site, we knew we had to bring him on board.

Dave knew of my long-term vision to start running 5 Oz. like a real business as opposed to a side hobby and to eventually abandon the blog format. When he had heard how long I felt it would take to make the transition, I think he was surprised. And much to my own surprise, he felt the site was ready to abandon the blog format and move forward. Not only that, he said we could do it in a matter of weeks. That’s how we ended up launching 5 Oz. 3.0 so quickly after we had just launched 2.0.

I really don’t know if our new format will be a big deal or not. Maybe nobody in the MMA blogging community will care. Or maybe we’ll be branded “sellouts.” I’m not really sure. But our format change isn’t a case of us passing judgment on blogs and bloggers. Blogs serve a great purpose and are very important when it comes to a form of media. However, it’s just not for us anymore and I hope people can respect that.

When I first started writing MMA, I had no sources. For me, this site was all about venting after big fight cards. Coming from a background of sports columns on the web and local sports talk radio, my main focus was just to be an opinion-based columnist. While I really never intended to be a reporter, I began to make a few contacts by reaching out to fighters over MySpace or via their official web sites.

People started talking to us because they recognized our name after having read something on the site. Over time, people in the industry actually began to seek us out and our network grew with our visibility. The more viral we were, the more people wanted to talk to us to get their site of the story out there. I suddenly found myself in a position where we were coming into a fair amount of exclusive news. Rather than only write op/ed pieces, I felt it made a lot of sense to also do some reporting. And thanks to these people in the industry who are kind enough to answer our calls, text messages, and e-mails, we’re able to bring a lot of unique and first-run content to the table.

Our goal is to expand our network of sources further and bring even more information that you read first at 5 Oz. Because we have fostered these relationships and developed these resources, I feel like it’s up to us to focus on exclusive content as opposed to just taking from others. We’re not copying and pasting anymore and while we still cite reports from other sites at times, we use a limited amount of quotes and do our best to try to advance the existing story.

I know a lot of our loyal readers will greet this change with mixed emotions. A lot of you have supported us through everything; whether it was a re-design, our site having technical issues, the hurdles my wife has encountered in her fighting career, etc. The Internet can be a cesspool of negativity at times that I dwell too much on but a lot of you have been there to reminded me through comment threads and e-mails that we’re writing for a lot of very cool people. Every time you write to tell us how much easier we make getting through your day at work, that means a lot to us. That’s the kind of feedback that gives me the drive to  make phone calls late at night to sources on the West Coast after I’ve just gotten back from getting my ass kicked at the gym while training. Your support means a lot and I hope you will continue to support us.

I realize a blog format is much more convenient because everything is on one page and you don’t have to click on anything, but I don’t think we’re the only site that’s a part of your daily routine that is using a standard magazine format. Some people will complain and tell us they prefer the old way better. We respect your opinion of the site but I want everyone to know up front, this is the new format and we’re not going to be looking back. In fact, we’re only looking forward.

We made this move because we feel it’s a better platform to present our content and we feel in the long run it will help us business-wise. Even though I write MMA full-time, 5 Oz. is not my only job. As I’ve said before, I put full-time hours into this site but my attention has to be divided quite often as I work jobs that afford me the ability to pay my bills. We believe this format change will help us eventually monetize the site better so that one day 5 Oz. is my only responsibility. And when that happens, the amount of exclusive content you see from us will skyrocket.

And at the end of the day, we’ll probably still be referred to as a “blog” and I’ll probably always be known as a “blogger.” And that’s fine by me. It’s not like we’re a doctor who freaks out if someone refers to us as a “mister.” If you want to call us a blog, go for it. This format change wasn’t about titles, it was about pushing the envelope and trying to continue to evolve as a website.

In closing, I just wanted to thank Dave for all the hard work he put into this re-design and I want to thank everyone on staff for their support of this change. We’ve asked a lot of our writers and going from a blog format to a web magazine format hasn’t been easy for them. I also want to thank my family for their support as well. It’s not easy having a husband and a father who works over 70 hours a week and still trains at least once a day, but my wife and son understand how much this means to me and they have supported me throughout. I’m just fortunate that they are as passionate about martial arts as I am.