Reporters Refused Credentials To Strikeforce's First Event Under Zuffa Ownership
Strikeforce last Saturday held its “first major event since being purchased” by UFC parent company Zuffa, and the MMA promotion “apparently stooped to the amateur-hour vindictiveness of its new ownership,” according to Jeff Wagenheim of SI.com. Two reporters assigned to cover Saturday's event “by major media outlets" -- ESPN.com's Josh Gross and CBSSports.com correspondent Loretta Hunt -- were "denied press credentials, just as they have been refused access to all UFC events in recent years" by UFC President Dana White. Hunt's exclusion was “especially bizarre, since CBS shares ownership with Showtime,” which televised the event. It was “curious” that Strikeforce “would bar writers representing such prominent outlets as ESPN and CBS Sports from press row.” Gross and Hunt are “two of the most experienced and respected journalists covering MMA.” Hunt indicated that “after her credential application was denied, editors at CBS Sports not only decided to go without original coverage Saturday night but also indicated to her that ‘they're not going to be covering the UFC for a while.’” But CBSSports.com Dir of Media Relations Alex Riethmiller “took a softer stance,” and ESPN.com's response “was similarly noncombative.” Wagenheim wrote, “White is himself the de facto commissioner. He can do whatever he wants. Until the media call him on it, which to this point only a few MMA blogs -- none with significant UFC access to lose -- have dared to stand up and do” (SI.com, 4/13).