“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
On the modern-day ideological battlefields of combat sports, those tasked with reporting the truth are increasingly lacking the heart of a lion in writing on a broad array of topics of a sensitive nature, both in mixed martial arts and boxing. Whether through incompetence or sheer utter refusal to do their job, the vast majority of the mainstream media covering combat sports today are woefully inept in their duties; leaving fighters, fans and pundits alike calling for change in a world where corruption, intimidation and fear run rampant throughout the combat sports media ranks.
In a September 13, 2019 BloodyElbow.com article titled, “Todd Duffee calls out MMA media for not ‘telling the truth’ about fighter pay,” author Anton Tabuena writes, “Todd Duffee points out how a lot of the MMA media is too afraid of losing their UFC credentials.” According to the Bloody Elbow report, “Duffee hasn’t fought since a loss to former champion Frank Mir back in 2015. He sat out initially due to contract issues with the UFC, and was also sidelined due to other health issues and injuries.” As the author Tabuena goes on to write, “Now that he’s about to return to the UFC this weekend, the now 33-year-old heavyweight seems fed up about how reporters are talking about his layoffs.”
Duffee, a fighter who once held the record for fastest knockout in UFC history, “Was being touted as a monster and potential eventual replacement for Brock Lesnar as the division’s most feared fighter,” according to the Vancouver Sun in their September 8, 2010 article, “Todd Duffee cut by the UFC.”
“Emotionally, I’m hurt,” Duffee said. “I’m hurt more than anything because I don’t know why. As a man, you just want to hear why so you can understand.”
The Sun goes on to report that Duffee was cut from the UFC after refusing a fight against John Madsen at UFC 121 due to serious and persistent injuries plaguing the young fighter. “I had a knee injury going into the Russow fight,” Duffee explained. “I’m not making any excuses because I lost that fight, and all props to Mike, but I definitely feel like it affected my game plan and my mentality going into the fight.”
According to Duffee, “I didn’t want that to happen again with Madsen. I wanted to be able to go out there and fight to my full potential instead of just boxing, basically. I asked for more time, and as far as I knew, they had granted it to me.”
Interestingly, tucked within the Sun’s report is a piece of information that may help solve the mystery of Duffee’s pink slip from the organization in 2010 and which may even bleed into part of the criticism’s Duffee levied against the MMA media in BloodyElbow.com’s 2019 report.
“Duffee no doubt didn’t help his cause when he Tweeted in late August, ‘Looking for weekend job in Denver tired of being completely broke [any] suggestions?’”
So, Todd Duffee knows a thing or two about the consequences of speaking out and losing your UFC credentials and as a long-time veteran of the sport is rightfully critical in how the mainstream media of combat sports handles their roles in appropriately reporting on any number of topics of a sensitive nature.
BloodyElbow.com went on to report that Duffee, “Pointed out a lot of truths in this business,” and he believes that, “The media should also speak about these things and use their own platforms properly.” According to Duffee:
“I sat out for two years for a contract. It’s been well documented. You can’t fight on 10 (thousand to show) and 10 (thousand to win) and make a living,” Duffee told MMA Junkie. “I’m tired of talking about it. You know the truth. I’m tired of you guys trying to make me fall on the sword when you guys need to step up your game.”
Thankfully, Duffee was hardly finished with his criticisms of the mixed martial arts media, most of which have been a long time coming and need to be continuously echoed until some of these very same people and outlets finally begin to get the message loud and clear.
“’Cut the BS guys, do your job. It’s the whole media blanket. Stop the crap. You guys are still on the same sugarcoating, pretending,’ he told MMA Junkie. “You guys are constantly watching your words, worried about losing your credentials. Do your job,” writes the “hard-at- work” Anton Tabuena in BloodyElbow.com’s report.
‘If you’re taking this personal, it’s probably you,’ he said with a laugh.”
In a definitive statement that I happen to agree with, Duffee went on to state of the combat sports media as a whole, “You can help us fix a lot of this, but you’re like ‘oh, but I’ve got to keep my credentials, and I’m making more money than you.’ That’s crazy. That’s f—king insane.”
As someone who has followed this sport nearly since its inception in North America, there is little outside the mainstream perspective of mixed martial arts that I haven’t witnessed first-hand as history has ultimately unfolded. With over 25-years of following MMA since the No Holds Barred era, when I look out upon the sea of mixed martial arts media personalities today, what stands out to me is who is missing from a headlining spot at the many mainstream mixed martial arts media outlets governing MMA reporting today.
There is a deep pool of extremely talented, well deserving and quite capable people to draw from who for one reason or another are on the outside looking in when the sport has never been more popular. This is a crime in and of itself, but unfortunately the only authorities in mixed martial arts who can do anything about it are the exact same perpetrators blacklisting those who literally helped pave the road everyone else walks on today.
There was a time not so long ago when mixed martial arts was the red headed step child of the sports entertainment world, if you can name a mainstream media outlet who reports on sports, at one time or another, they’ve all given mixed martial arts the cold shoulder as something beneath them and unworthy of giving any air time too. By any standards, they are greenhorns to the mixed martial arts world and a day late and a dollar short in the eyes of many who remember the dark days of mixed martial arts where meeting another MMA fan was like having an encounter with a Sasquatch in the woods, it just didn’t happen.
As coincidence would have it, some of these exact same criticisms Duffee has levied against the mainstream mixed martial arts media mirror my own thoughts and experiences with some of the biggest names in combat sports reporting today, a select few of whom I’ve offered nearly identical critiques as Duffee’s throughout the years too only to arrive at no other conclusion than these “experts” are simply nothing of the sort and in many cases truly are afraid to publish anything other than positive reviews of mixed martial arts for fear of the vengeful spirits who are said to haunt KTFO forest.
In addition to a mixed martial arts media who lacks the heart of a lion, it has even been suggested by some that there are those within the combat sports media community who are on the fight promoters’ payroll. In a world where fighters have to beg the mainstream mixed martial arts media to do their job, lending our support to people just like Todd Duffee, Anton Tabuena and the few other brave souls in combat sports willing to put their careers and necks on the line to say and write about the things others either can’t or simply refuse to do may be the only way in driving the mechanisms of change so desperately needed on the modern day ideological battlefields in mixed martial arts.